I know that you are confused, and likely have many questions. We're here with you!
As with every sector and industry, higher education/ college admissions will be greatly affected by the current pandemic. This does NOT mean that you should give-up your dreams of studying abroad, or that you will be forced to take GAP year. It simply means that the current state of admissions is changing, and will continue to do so in the foreseeable future.
We will be providing updates as necessary, but here are some of these major chances you need to be aware of.
1. MORE COLLEGES ARE GOING TEST-OPTIONAL
If you are unsure what test-optional means, you can find an explanation HERE.
According to Bloomberg,"colleges for years have been moving to drop testing, dating back to Bowdoin College’s decision in 1969. Almost 1,100 colleges have already eliminated such scores, including about 50 in 2019. Advocates and researchers maintain that grades are a better predictor of college success. Standardized test scores favor wealthy students who have tutors and can retake tests, which means that eliminating the scores helps level the playing field."
So far, Harvard, Yale and the other high-profile universities of the Ivy League still require them, as do Stanford and highly selective colleges on the West Coast. But many of the schools that compete with those big names are moving ahead to make the tests optional.
Colleges that have now gone test-optional (some only for 2020-2021 admissions cycle) are listed below. We expect many more to follow suit in the next few weeks and will update as necessary.
Case Western Reserve University
University of California System
University of Washington
The University of Oregon
Oregon State University
Texas Christian University
The University of the Cumberlands
2. POSSIBLE CANCELLATIONS FOR FALL 2020
If you were planning to matriculate in September, there is a possibility that you may not be able to be physically present on campus. I know how disappointed you are as you were looking forward to the wonderful adventure of a traditional campus experience. Take comfort (even what little you can) in the fact that this will not be your permanent situation, and that you are going through the same thing as millions of students around the world.
Colleges WANT to open in September, but you need to prepare for the likely possibility that they will remain closed, and have the incoming Freshman class begin classes online.
You can also consider deferring admission for a year, if obtaining the typical four-year campus experience is extremely important to you.
3. FINANCIAL AID & SCHOLARSHIPS MORE COMPETITIVE THAN EVER
College endowments have already taken significant hit from the current crisis. Until borders re-open and economies recover, financial aid will be significantly more difficult to get, particularly for international students. Colleges will likely be looking at foreign students as a source of revenue (i.e. accepting full-paying international students).
With this, international students who need financial aid should focus on creating the most compelling application possible (which we specialize in!) while also applying to budget-friendly schools (and YES, they do exist) in the US and Canada. This is not to scare you, as universities will forever continue to want your diverse perspectives and experiences within their classrooms. However, you have to ensure that (especially if you need significant aid) you provide an application that they simply cannot refuse.