How COVID-19 Has Started Affecting College Admissions
This article was written based on the information and opinions presented by Neely Allen in a CollegeVine livestream. You can watch the full livestream for more info.
What we know so far about COVID-19’s affect on the college admissions process is that before the pandemic colleges used to use metrics like SAT or ACT scores. This was done to determine if students were “college ready”. However, after standardized tests came to a halt because of COVID-19, admissions officers realized that tests weren’t exactly the best indicator for a holistic admissions process.
Test scores don’t show your character and critical thinking skills. Instead it’s just number on your academic performance, and approximately 82% of interviewers have stated they are more likely to choose candidates with a holistic application that includes things like volunteer experience.
Many students currently lack specialized advising for holistic admissions, and moving forward they need to find meaningful ways to showcase their soft skills. Soft skills are things like interpersonal skills, communication skills, time management, and work ethic. Additionally, while opportunities such as volunteering projects are sometimes hard to find and it’s difficult to showcase these accomplishments or contributions, doing so will create a more appealing candidate in the eyes of an admissions officer.
You should always aim for quality over quantity in your extracurricular activities and personal projects. Try to curate your application to showcase an understanding of your achievements and how they contribute to the goal you’re actually working towards. This can be done with projects that will develop relevant and key skills for you.
There are intended pre-med majors who intern at hospitals or clinics, or students interested in social work who volunteer to supply hygiene care packages. These are just some of the examples, but mainly you should simply try to keep your activities and pursuits relevant to college and to a set of potential career goals by doing what interests you.
With that being said, starting last fall, colleges have also been revamping their admissions process by training staff on how to look for character in the college admissions process and students’ applications. They have started looking for some key characteristics within students that their academic transcripts or resumes don’t actually showcase.
To cater your college applications to this new approach, start to rely on things like your letters of recommendations and essays, which provide character related evidence. Additionally make sure to focus on character ratings, such as online interviews or a digital portfolio. It’s not just one piece of the puzzle, but all the pieces and how they fit together that should showcase the student in a better light.
Essentially you want to aim to show schools consistency through your dedication to your passions and how that has influenced the community around you. If you focus on showing admissions officers the complete picture of you as a student and person, it will help them gain a better understanding of how you will fit into their school and make you stand out among other applicants.