How is the Coronavirus Outbreak Affecting College Admission?

By Huntington Learning Center

For many parents of high school upperclassmen, spring brings a lot of excitement. Juniors are taking college admissions exams for the first time and starting to get serious about college research, while seniors are close to making a decision.

Things are a bit different in 2020!

The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has families scrambling for many reasons, and wondering how exactly this pandemic will affect their teens when it comes to college admissions. Here’s what you need to know:

  • You might not be able to tour those colleges just yet. If you planned to take your teen to visit any college campuses over spring break, you likely know by now that most colleges have suspended tours, visits, and other on-campus events. Look into virtual tours instead, or consider making plans for the summer.
  • College fairs have been canceled. With the national ban on events of more than 50 people, it’s safe to assume that any college fair your junior was thinking about attending this spring is canceled. The National Association for College Admission Counseling canceled all of its remaining spring 2020 national college fairs.
  • Test dates have been canceled. The College Board canceled the March 28th makeup date for the March 14th exam date that many testing centers canceled. It also canceled the May 2nd The next SAT is scheduled for June 6th, 2020. The ACT rescheduled its April 4th date to June 13th, 2020. This is important for high school juniors to understand, since it affects their exam prep schedule and pushes them into summer.
  • Travel restrictions could affect international student enrollment. Applicants and enrollees in U.S. colleges and universities from students in countries like China might decline. This could change in the months to come, but it also might last into the foreseeable future and have an impact on college admissions competitiveness.
  • The move to online school could prove challenging for some students. Seniors trying to finish their high school careers strong, and juniors working hard to get to the finish line, might feel some disruption by the move to a distance-learning model. It’s essential that you support your teen through this transition, so that their grades do not slip during the adjustment period, which could affect college admission decisions.
  • Your financial situation could change. Without question, the coronavirus outbreak has had a big impact on the stock market. As you prepare to send your teen off to college later in the year, this might be a concern you could raise to the college or university financial aid office. Colleges often send financial aid packages to students and their families toward the end of March; it is a good idea to contact the college or university of interest if you want to confirm no changes to that date.
  • The admissions timeline could be affected when your student is unable to send requested documents to colleges or universities. Admission decisions often go out to applicants in March. Sometimes colleges seek additional information, such as final-semester high school grades or most recent SAT or ACT scores. If your senior is unable to get documents from the guidance counselor, they should reach out to the admissions department to make them aware and discuss options.
  • The deposit deadline might change. Some colleges and universities have already extended the typical May 1st admission response and deposit deadline to June 1st. This gives your senior a little extra time to make their college decision.

The coronavirus situation is constantly evolving, and colleges and universities are reacting accordingly. Contact Huntington with any questions, and reach out to the colleges and universities to which your teen has applied if you have concerns or questions about the admission timeline.