Most of us have seen a change to our day to day lives during the COVID-19 pandemic. While the short-term changes are obvious, many people are wondering what the long-term impact will be. That includes prospective college students. Especially juniors in the Class of 2021 may be wondering how COVID-19 will affect the 2020 college admissions cycle.
The 2020 College Admissions Cycle
The good news is many schools have shared that they don’t expect COVID-19 to impact the college admissions cycle in a major way.
For example, Princeton undergrad admissions tweeted, in early March 2020, “Please note: The coronavirus outbreak and its effects have no impact on how we evaluate applicants to the University.”
That said, there are many ways COVID-19 has already affected students and schools.
Keep in mind, the situation is rapidly evolving. But here’s some of the other information that is currently available about how COVID-19 will (and will not) affect the 2020 college admissions cycle and other academic events.
Most post-secondary schools in the United States have closed their admissions offices for now. Be that as it may, they’re still operating virtually. Students can contact them via phone or email to get more information.
Admitted Students Days
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But things have been shaken up for students who were planning to visit campuses to learn about their new school this year. Most schools have canceled their admitted students’ days and weekends for students who were already accepted for the fall semester.
Some schools, including Harvard, have moved their admitted students events online. Instead of hosting “Visits” on campus, they’re moving to host “Virtual Visits” that will be available to admitted students for all of April rather than just a three-day period.
College-bound high school juniors should also take a look at this post where I discuss how they (and their parents) can make the most of the year as they prepare for college.
Many international students have already been accepted for the Fall 2020 semester. Most schools continue to accept and welcome these students. But many schools, including California Institute of Technology (Caltech), require all arrivals at the university to initially follow the same self-quarantine guidelines that apply to all travelers.
Prospective international students could experience certain barriers to their education at American schools. Many schools require standardized testing before admission. In many parts of Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, standardized test sites have closed. This is expected to seriously affect the number of international students that apply.
Tuition and Fees
Unfortunately, having fewer international students is also detrimental to the schools that rely on income from international students. International students are estimated to bring in more than $2.5 billion in tuition plus required fees to American schools.
With fewer admissions, tuition rates could rise for American students, particularly those at public colleges that could lose the most revenue.
Understandably, many prospective students are frustrated with the uncertainty surrounding their upcoming academic future. Prospective students should continue to monitor school websites for updates and information. At the same time, they can continue to do what they can to prepare for college.
Optimistically, most schools are expected to return to normal operation by this fall.
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