Senior goodbyes are now virtual. Graduations are being cancelled. Final revisits to colleges will not be possible. It can be difficult to think about all of the things that the Class of 2020 is not able to do because of the threat of the Coronavirus, but the team at College Thoughts has outlined ten things that every member of the Class of 2020 can focus on right now to ease your stress today as you prepare for brighter tomorrows:
- Check to see if your college of choice has made changes because of COVID-19
The National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) has created two tools to centralize information on both changes in college admissions and in high school service offerings. Over 700 colleges and 500 high schools have already entered their plans. This site can make it a little easier for students and families to navigate the admission process during this stressful and confusing time:
- Inform the colleges of any projected change in your financial situation immediately
The collateral damage from the Coronavirus has resulted in economic shifts, including layoffs and closing of businesses. If you are experiencing a change in employment or loss of income that will affect your ability to pay tuition, you need to notify colleges in writing immediately. There will be many adjustments that will be requested in the coming months and you would like your case to be considered sooner rather than later.
- Research virtual tours as you consider your final decision
Many students rely on revisits after acceptance to make their final decision about where they will matriculate in the fall, but those programs have been cancelled almost unilaterally. Instead, colleges are putting extensive virtual tours on their websites so that students can get an in-depth look at what each school has to offer. Take a look at these virtual tours with your family to learn more about each institution as you work towards your final selection.
- Ask colleges to help you connect with current students to ask questions
You may not be able to visit colleges, but since most people are under shelter-in-place orders, colleges should be able to help you connect with current students while they are at home so that you can ask the tough questions that will help you to make the best decision where to attend. Ask what they appreciate about their school, but also ask what they would change. You should also consider speaking with one than one student per school: if you are interested in studying engineering, like dance, and want to join student government, then talk to three separate students, one from each area. And remember that asking your friend or relative that attends a certain school may give you a false positive since they probably want you to join them. An objective opinion always helps to create better perspective.
- Use your additional free time to research and apply for scholarships
You’ve got plenty of time on your hands so there’s no reason that you should be unaware of what’s available. Use scholarship search tools like Scholly, see what’s available, and use this time to earn some additional dollars towards tuition.
- Be kind to your family
Whether your younger brother is unable to go to the playground or your parents are worried about healthcare or paying the bills, everyone has experienced a measure of loss in recent days. While it would be easy for stress to mount at home or for family members not to appreciate the significance of another’s loss, a little kindness will go a long way.
- Sharpen your writing skills
When I got to college, the most surprising thing for me was the amount of writing that was required. Though I did well in my English classes, I wasn’t fully prepared to write at the rate or the caliber that was expected by my professors. During this time, many courses are available online for free or some teachers are even volunteering to help students build skills while they are out of school. Take advantage and become the best writer that you can be.
- Remember your relationships
While we hope that you are practicing social distancing in terms of meeting in person, please use this time to reignite relationships with friends and loved ones and to check on those who may be struggling during what seems like a dark time. FaceTime and Google Hangouts allow us to virtually look in on each other to offer a laugh or a little encouragement. Remember, some will struggle more with loneliness than they do with sickness during this epidemic. Take some time to reach out and let others know that you are concerned – it will mean more than you might suspect.
- Don’t overload
During the early days of the pandemic, I watched every news update, followed the stories on my phone, and read every social media post. In the process, I temporarily lost my sense of peace. Instead of drowning yourself in information about COVID-19, you might consider reading your favorite book, getting some exercise, or challenging someone to a game of Words with Friends (my screen name is Wilky75 if you feel so inclined). And, dare I say it, this might be a good time to purge from social media a bit more in general.
Most traditional graduations will not take place this spring, but that doesn’t mean that you will not be able to celebrate your graduation later. Ask your school to consider having a graduation later in the summer. Schedule a graduation party where your family and friends can celebrate your accomplishment. Have a virtual event where your relatives can tell you how proud they are and you can thank them for the roles that they have played in helping you to get to this point. Plan a series of celebrations to remember – you’ve earned it!
AND MOST IMPORTANTLY - BETTER DAYS ARE COMING - The coming weeks hold many uncertainties – extended school closures, work from home mandates, and the suspension of many of our routine activities. Perhaps one of the best things we can do is to keep planning for the future. We are always proud to be a part of your team and hope that we will continue to make great strides together today, even while we look towards a brighter tomorrow.
College Thoughts is doing a free virtual workshop this Thursday on how to navigate the college process during these times. Click here to register.