Labor Day Thoughts

Greetings from the Jersey Shore as we wrap up another summer and students head back to school or at least log in to their classes. This application cycle I guided an awesome group of kids that worked hard all summer. The fruit of their labor is that every last one of them has their Common App completed and their supplemental essays finished or with a plan to finish them in a timely manner. Now they can start their senior year and focus on their last and arguably their most important academic leg of high school.

Here are a few thoughts on the 2021 admission cycle, in no particular order:

  1. Test-Optional is great! But, test-optional is not test-blind. Students that are able to test and do well with help their application profile. I am encouraging all of my students to try and test if they are able to secure a seat at a test site that manages to administer a test.
  2. Schools are dealing with uncertainty (we all are, I know). And this means that they are likely to lean heavily on the Early Decision round to stabilize their numbers and secure a certain amount of students in December. I wrote more about this in my last post, 5 Things to Know About Early Decision in a Pandemic.
  3. Some campuses are starting to open for tours but many are still only offering virtual tours. For now, the best bet for a rising senior is to continue to explore schools online and keep our fingers crossed that next spring seniors will be able to visit campuses for Accepted Student Days.
  4. Some old adages still hold true. Carolyn Pippen wrote a piece called “Lessons From a Departing Admissions Counselor” when she left Vanderbilt University several years ago. One of the points that she makes is, “The calmest and most organized students fare the best in this process”. If you have a senior that needs to apply to college, the time is now.
  5. There is chatter around the 2021 cohort-will it be easier to get in because of the pandemic? Or will it be harder to get in because of the pandemic? The answer is it probably depends and no one really knows yet. I think that the typical acceptance rates at each school might tick up a bit so that colleges will ensure that they can fill their class.
  6. Full-pay students will be in high demand and could have an advantage, especially in the ED round.
  7. And of course, the wait list might be a whole new frontier.
  8. If you are a senior, or the parent of a senior, fasten your seatbelt, this application cycle is going to be a wild ride!

I hope you had a great holiday weekend. Here’s a picture of how I started my day.

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