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College campuses are closed due to the COVID-19 epidemic. That means admissions offices are operating at reduced capacity. All of this has thrown homeschool high-school seniors’ plans into disarray.
The big question: If you’re planning to begin college in fall 2020, can it still happen?
The COVID-19 situation is changing rapidly, and we don’t have all the answers for how it will look a week from now—let alone half a year. Even so, we still do know a few things:
1. Campuses will probably be open for the fall semester
In all likelihood, colleges and K-12 schools will be operating in the fall. Exactly what that looks like is anybody’s guess. It could mean that classes will look vastly different, at least for the time being. Without a doubt, social distancing will remain important in classrooms and online learning will play a larger role. In-person classes might even be cancelled.
Even though many experts are predicting a resurgence of COVID-19 in the autumn, it’s still safe to make plans for the semester, if you and your student feel comfortable with proceeding. In a worst case scenario where the virus is still significantly disrupting daily life, your student’s freshman year will be dominated by online learning.
2. For now, count on application deadlines being extended
Most schools are extending application deadlines to June 1 rather than the typical May 1 deadline. Others are waiving application fees or lowering the deposit amount needed to secure a spot for the fall semester.
3. A bonus is that you might not need your SAT or ACT scores
Many colleges are coming up with new admissions requirements to waive the need for standardized test scores. That means your student might be able put away those test-taking study books for the time being! Be sure to check with the schools your student is applying to, of course.
4. Financial aid will look different
If your family’s income has dropped due to the impact of the coronavirus, your student might be eligible for additional financial aid. That makes it even more imperative that he or she fill out the FAFSA.
If you’re still concerned about college in fall 2020, your family has options
- Your student can apply to a college in a smaller city or more rural area where quarantines shouldn’t be as much of a factor.
- Your student can take a gap year and apply or reapply for college for the fall 2021 semester.
- Your student can attend college closer to home, perhaps at a community college. An added bonus: Tuition is super cheap, a big plus during these uncertain times.