Stay in the Zone, Juniors!
In this shifting landscape, a few things have become clear for current juniors: your application process will be an anomaly and quite different from the usual.
As a reaction to COVID 19, for example, many schools are becoming test optional next year (including the UCs). Colleges recognize that SAT and ACT testing dates have been canceled or rescheduled, and though the College Board says they will add dates (the ACT has yet to announce new dates), colleges and universities are being more flexible about testing. We expect even more schools to announce that for the 2020-2021 admission process, standardized tests will be optional.
Many schools will also be flexible with second semester grades. They realize that some schools have gone to pass/fail and some students will not have access to remote learning.
What does this mean for current juniors?
→If you test well, you should still take the SAT or ACT—a high score will still hold weight at many schools and might make you eligible for merit ail.
→First semester junior and senior grades will be more important than ever.
→Teacher recommendations will be important, too. They will help fill in the gaps left by the pandemic, telling colleges about your work ethic, your strengths, and your ability to work with others
→Essays and supplements will take on increased importance as well; make sure that you put your best foot forward in all of the written components.
→And though you might not have been able to engage in your usual extracurriculars during the pandemic (such as sports, orchestra, and theater), there are lots of ways for students to stay engaged and connected.
→What did you do with your quarantine time? Did you take a course from a MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses)? Did you develop a relationship with a pen pal in another country? Write and publish poetry? Set up a network to help elderly people in your neighborhood?
Schools want to see that you are staying motivated and curious; make sure that you remain engaged in your studies and keep in contact with teachers and counselors. Don’t let this time go to waste!