5 Resources for College Planning During COVID-19

As college applications ramp up, this week we’re focusing on college admissions in the time of COVID-19.

By Team XQ

We’ve recently reshaped XQ content to touch on four new categories that enable us to better meet the needs of educators, students, and families.

The new XQ verticals are High School Redesign, High School & Society, High School Life, and High School Beyond Graduation. As college applications ramp up, this week we’re focusing on college admissions in the time of COVID-19.

1. ADAPT: What Does Applying To College Look Like During COVID-19? 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, college admissions boards are approaching the application process differently this year.

Why it matters: Students will apply to college this year, missing months of extracurricular activities, grades for GPAs, and standardized test scores. What will college admissions boards look at to make applications complete?

Here are some solutions:

  • Emphasize personal essays
  • Focus on students’ character
  • Use virtual meeting rooms and other technology for interviews

Listen to learn more!

Extra credit: How the Coronavirus Has Upended College Admissions →

2. NAVIGATE: Get To Know Your Future College Virtually 

When campuses closed during the pandemic, colleges found innovative ways to provide accessibility to prospective students.

Why it matters: Campus tours are an important way for students to make their college decisions. To adapt to the moment, colleges have stepped up their virtual admissions offerings to help students feel confident in their choice. Plus, improved virtual admissions tools give international and low-income prospective students the same ability to explore campus as domestic, high-income students.

With all of these virtual tools available, students need to know how to take full advantage of them.

Here are some ways colleges are engaging with applicants:

  • Virtual tours and events
  • Zoom meetings
  • Website innovations and improvements
  • Greater access to admissions offices

Extra credit: A Student Guide to Virtual College Admissions Tools →

3. WRITE: Tips on Writing a College Application Essay 

Learn how to conquer the college admissions essay.

Why it matters: With college admissions boards putting a greater emphasis on essays and personal statements this year, knowing how to write them is crucial. 

We’ve got students covered. Our guide teaches students everything from start to finish, including:

  • What college essays are
  • Why they are important
  • Where to start
  • How to write and revise the essay

… and more!

Extra credit: How to Write a Powerful College Applications Essay →

4. EVOLVE: How the Common App Is Taking an Anti-Racist Step Forward 

The Common App removed the disciplinary history section of the application.

Why it matters: School discipline disportionately affects students of color, locking them out from the promise of higher education. Removing the disciplinary section on the Common App is just one step towards helping correct institutional failures.

Here’s what the Common App learned and how they are adjusting to create a more just college admissions process:

  • School discipline disproportionately impacts students of color
  • Students who answer ‘yes’ to the discipline question are less likely to submit their application
  • Black students are twice as likely to answer ‘yes’

Learn more about the Common App’s decision and their plan for a more equitable higher education admissions process!

Extra credit: Evolving the Common App: The First Step Toward Anti-Racist College Admissions →

5. DECIDE: Choose the Right College While Social Distancing 

COVID-19 has cancelled the usual college campus tours for prospective students.

Why it matters: Touring college campuses is an important part of the college decision-making process. In a time of social distancing, tours for prospective and admitted students aren’t an option. Luckily, there are still several ways to gather valuable information and make the right decision!

Here are some ways students can get the information they need to choose the right school for them:

  • Use high school counselors as a resource
  • Connect with current and former students
  • Schedule zoom meetings
  • Attend online information sessions
  • Take virtual tours

Extra credit: How to Make College Decisions When Campuses are Closed →

College Costs How Much?! 

For any student considering college, one of the biggest (and most stressful) questions is: How will I finance it? 

The sticker price of college should never stop students from attending their dream school. Whether it’s learning how to budget or applying for financial aid, our Guide on How to Pay for College breaks down everything students need to know about financing their college education.