As parents, we want the best for our kiddos and with the COVID pandemic, many of us are worried about what the future may bring.  Obviously, COVID has already affected our children’s quality of education, but what does this mean further down the line when they are ready to enrol in college?  What educational trends will emerge? Will it be more difficult for them to get into college or easier? 

One thing is for sure, the coronavirus pandemic has intensified college application anxiety for both parents and students alike. All of these questions hint at an underlying concern that the COVID pandemic disruption could be an automatic disadvantage for students everywhere. But, many colleges internationally have already taken a student’s circumstances into account.

Here are five things students and families ought to know when they apply to colleges post-COVID pandemic.

5 Things You Should Know When Applying to College Post COVID

1. Admissions officers will understand if grades are incomplete.

In the emergency pivot to online learning in the spring of 2020, some schools stopped grading students altogether.  This hasn’t necessarily been the norm in Malaysia, but for colleges around the world, it has.  In many cases, colleges adopted other measures to account for the fact that students completed previous academic years.

Many members of the class of 2021 and other college applicants are afraid that the absence of grades – from all or part of the 2019-2020 school year – could hurt their admission chances when some other applicants have those grades.

This is not necessarily a new fear. Some high schools opted out of assigning grades, so colleges have reviewed a transcript that consists purely of their teachers’ comments. Other students have attended multiple high schools, which means that their transcripts have different grading scales altogether.

The fact of the matter is this:  colleges and universities were already accepted students on a case-by-case basis, so in this regard, not much has changed.

Bottom line: All of the academic work leading up to the pandemic still matters and, regardless of whether or not it has been graded or whether your student was virtual or in school, this will not affect their ability to be accepted into a college or university!

2. College entrance exams could be less important than usual

Since the spring, entrance exams have been canceled, and many students have limited options as to whether or not they want to take rescheduled tests. With the uneven availability of the most common entrance exams, hundreds of colleges and universities are at least temporarily taking the test-optional approach. The University of California system is going even further by becoming test-blind, meaning the school won’t review SAT or ACT scores, even if students do submit them..

Yet students are still worried that without entrance results they won’t be competitive. Or if they took a test, and didn’t have a chance to try again, their scores don’t seem strong enough. They can take some comfort in that almost 400 colleges have stated that the lack of test scores is not an admissions disadvantage.

Similarly, Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate testing was disrupted. Students who had dedicated nearly a year to their advanced classes lurched into the spring-facing tests that were quickly reconfigured in the online format. Word on the street is that many students are worried about whether their test results if they got them at all, will hold up to admissions scrutiny.

Again, students may be able to take comfort from the fact that hundreds of colleges recognize this predicament. Specifically, these colleges have signed an agreement that states the absence of exam results will not put applicants at a disadvantage, and that they will “view students in the context of the curriculum, academic resources and supports available to them.”

3. Students can get a letter of recommendation from teachers they know only online.

Many colleges require a recommendation from a teacher. Admissions officers rely on these recommendations for insight into the student’s learning style and strengths. Since many schools have gone to remote learning, teachers may not get as much insight into students as they did when they were teaching in person.

But even in that situation, teachers can characterize the student as a learner in an online environment, which is a valuable insight. As Lee Coffin, dean of admissions at Dartmouth College told me via text message: “These cyber-relationships are another type of new normal, so we are interested in the teacher’s view on how this works for a student.”

4. Personality may count more than before

Because the pandemic has halted many extracurricular activities, such as sports, colleges and universities are now considering student character in their admissions process. 

For some students, the challenges of COVID-19 are a mere interference with their daily lives. For others, the disease and its consequences are traumatic, with sick family members, death and even financial crisis’. Depending on circumstances, some students might be able to list all their activities because they were not interrupted. For others, the list could look blank.

Fortunately, even before the pandemic, there has been a movement among college and university admissions officers to begin to consider factors such as empathy and persistence, which we could notice in the hours a student commits to a school commute or a teacher’s testament to working well with classmates.

Some have followed specific recommendations for new ways to admit students that were made by Harvard’s Making Caring Common project. This is good news for students because it signals that admissions officers value students’ unique qualities beyond their academics and extracurricular activities.

Going Forward into College

These disruptions might alter the way college applications are evaluated, but colleges ad universities are up for the challenge and prepared to be sensitive and flexible to incoming student bodies.

I would suggest that students and their families accept the disruptions for what they are, instead of getting too worried about them. Students of all ages should definitely devote their energy and time to the parts of their college applications that they can complete, not those that are impossible to do because of ongoing disruptions to everyday life.

About Little Human Scholars Preschool, Playschool, Kindie and Daycare in PJ

Little Human Scholars is an all-in-one childcare solution.  It is a preschool, playschool, kindergarten, nursery and full-day daycare centre (with extended hours) located in the heart of PJ.

In fact, the location is one of the things which makes Little Human Scholars so sought after – it is conveniently nestled near Jalan Gasing, University hospital, PJ Old town, PJ New town, Jaya One, Jaya33, and the PJ IT Mall.

The best part is LHS school in PJ has premiere services many other schools in PJ don’t offer such as full-day daycare with extended hours, CCTV access for parents, and a nifty little phone app that provides parents with automatic updates on their child’s development, behaviour and health checks.

With full-time guards always present at each of their locations, access to CCTV (which is in every room except the office, bathroom and kitchen areas), and very strict pick-up and drop-off rules, Little Human Scholars treats every child who walks into its hallways as one of their own children!

This place has it all:  location, safety, health, IGSCE curriculum and play-based learning.  What more could you ask for?  Did I mention they also have transportation services and offer meal plans for students?  It doesn’t get any better than that.

If you are interested in a tour of one of our centres (that’s right, there’s more than one), all you need to do is fill out the form here or call +6017-7303-025 and an LHS administrative staff will get back with you shortly!