The pandemic has thrown a wrench in many aspects of the college admission world. From visiting campuses to sending in applications, we are all dealing with a new paradigm. In New Jersey, next week is the November break that in a normal year, many families use to visit colleges. I remember doing this several years ago and crisscrossing New England to arrive on campuses littered with other New Jersey license plates. Many schools are not offering tours or in-person visits now. So what can a junior do right now?
- Get on some campuses. I do not care where you go, or if it is a school that interests you. You just need to go. These schools are going to have students on campus for the next few weeks, so the window to see a college in action is closing and who knows what things will look like for the spring semester. Even if they are not offering formal visits or tours, go see who is there and get a sense of the vibe. And I recommend that you even take off a day from school to do this!
- Come up with a testing plan. Take a look at the schedule for the SAT and the ACT. Decide when a good prep window is for you and get organized to prepare and test, either in late 2020 or spring of 2021.
- Explore schools that interest you through virtual information sessions and online tours. If they ask for your email, give it to them so you can demonstrate interest.
- Focus on your academics. Curriculum and academic performance are the number one thing that colleges are looking for when they review your file.
- As you progress through your junior year, build good relationships with your teachers. You are going to need two letters of recommendation from people that have had you in class.
There are surreal times and as we all put one foot in front of the other, I hope this helps you gain a sense of some of the things that are in your control. And happy teacher’s convention weekend!