Class of 2021: What Can You Do for Now?

By: Sydney French & Kate Ratner

As of recent events due to coronavirus, the class of 2021 is concerned about how the pandemic will affect the college application cycle. Despite the unknown circumstances, there are still things class of 2021 students can start doing research and study for college admission exams to prepare for the application cycle.

So far within the past month, some universities have become test-optional. For some schools, this change is being done as a 3-year experiment to see if it’s a permanent change that should be made. Other schools, on the other hand, are doing this because of the current conditions and will be switching back to their previous application policies for the class of 2022 cycle. Some of the schools that have changed to test-optional so far include:

Boston University (MA),  Case Western Reserve University (OH)

Chapman University (CA),  Davidson College (NC)

Indiana University,  Oregon State University,  Pomona College (CA

Rhodes College (TN),  Saint Bonaventure University (NY)

Saint Mary’s College of Maryland,  Scripps College (CA)

Trinity University (TX),  Tufts University (MA)

University of California system:

            University of California Berkeley

            University of California Davis

            University of California Irvine

            University of California Los Angeles (UCLA)

            University of California Merced

            University of California Riverside

            University of California San Diego

            University of California Santa Barbara

            University of California Santa Cruz

University of Oregon,  University of Redlands (CA)

University of Toledo (OH),  Vassar College (NY)

Michala Butler, The Pennsylvania Capital-Star (https://www.penncapital-star.com/covid-19/postponed-graduations-scuttled-career-plans-how-pa-college-high-school-students-are-weathering-the-covid-19-pandemic/)

Meanwhile, recently the exam days for the June and May SAT were canceled while the ACT still intends to administer the exam in June. In the meantime, many tutoring services are holding free online SAT/ACT classes such as Khan Academy, Princeton Review, and Varsity Tutors.  Currently, the next SAT date is unknown but the College Board said they will add a few additional testing dates towards the end of the summer.

Many class of 2021 students are stressed about how this will affect their college application process, they can use this time to their advantage. Students can begin to decide on which teacher they would like to ask to write their recommendation letters. They should also research the schools they are interested in applying to since some schools will only take recommendation letters from teachers from junior year and on. Another thing students can look into is supplementary letters, while not all schools accept supplementary letters, those that do can find out more about the character of the applicant. Yale, The University of Pennsylvania, and MIT all accept supplementary letters. Supplementary letters are preferably written by someone who is not your teacher such as, a youth group coordinate or athletic coach. 

Students can also look into becoming more familiar with the technology that comes with the application process. This typically means learning how to use the Common App or the Coalition App and learning which application their desired school requires. While applying may seem far away it’s also never too early to begin the college essay writing process. Students can begin to decide on topics they may want to write about or even begin writing their essays if they please.

The current situation we are in is uncomfortable and no one knows exactly how this is going to affect the college application process for the class of 2021. However, students can regain some control back in their lives by  starting certain steps in the process, they can also do this by keeping up to date on new changes to college application processes.