Our Response to COVID-19
COVID-19 has changed the landscape of college admissions on many fronts. Here are a few key things you should know:
Many colleges have adopted the “test optional” stance on the ACT and SAT. To clarify, test optional means exactly what it implies–it is not mandatory for students to include test scores on their college applications. We realize, like the colleges, that many test dates have been canceled, but if you can recommend that you take the ACT or SAT if possible. You will not be penalized if you cannot submit a score, but if you can, it may help with the admission process or scholarship awards.
Tests can be helpful in negating grade inflation and/or identifying students whose grades may not reflect their academic potential.The scores can also indicate where students “stack up” next to the entire pool of applicants.
Please note that several schools have adopted the “test blind” policy, which means they will no longer consider test scores in their admissions process. SAT Subject Tests, which have historically been required by a number of schools, particularly for applicants to engineering majors, have been relegated to the “test blind” status at several schools, including, MIT, Harvey Mudd, Caltech and Cornell University. There are others that still “recommend” them like Rice University, Northwestern University, University of Virginia and Carnegie Mellon. We will make sure to check on every school’s website on each of our student’s list to ensure that all required tests are submitted.
Advanced Placement (AP) Tests
AP Tests will still be accepted by colleges, but they may require a higher score than they have historically given the shortened format of the tests administered this year. It remains to be seen what the format will be in the future. It still pays to take the AP classes, however, as they can both boost your GPA and indicate a strong rigor of high school curriculum on your applications.
Obviously, many summer plans and extracurricular activities have been altered or cancelled as a result of COVID-19. Colleges understand this, but also are going to be looking at how you used the free time you gained while not playing your sport, debating, volunteering, etc. This has been your opportunity to think “out-of-the-box” by seeking online opportunities, getting outside, learning a new hobby, reading books, etc. While this has unquestionably been a difficult and disappointing time for everyone, the silver lining is that having this kind of time is an unprecedented chance to be with family, help others, and examine what is important to you. Seize the moment!
At Today’s College Solutions we are here to discuss all of the above with you and develop a personalized strategy that suits your needs and goals.
Financial Implications of COVID-19
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which provides economic assistance to individuals, families and small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, automatically reduces the interest rate on federally-held student loans to 0% from March 13, 2020, through September 30, 2020. It also suspends principal and interest payments on those loans through September 30, 2020. This suspension occurs automatically.
Please note that the benefits offered by CARES only apply to student loans held by the federal government. Private loans are not included in this Act. Some federal student loans are not eligible. Visit StudentAid.gov for details.
Some private lenders may be offering relief. Contact your lender to find out details.
Your college’s financial aid office is the best source of information for emergency grants and details on your financial aid options. Do not hesitate to contact it to see answers and help.