5 Tips for Navigating the College Admissions Process amid the Ongoing Coronavirus Pandemic

Under ordinary circumstances, the college admissions process can be daunting for students and their families. However, as we continue to face the defining global health crisis of our time, this process is continually undergoing significant changes, leaving many wondering where to turn. The Shipley School’s College Counseling team is here to help, with the following tips for navigating the college admissions process amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

1.) Be flexible.

Students need to be more flexible than in the past, since the college admissions process looks vastly different from one year ago. Fortunately, many colleges and universities are now more accommodating when it comes to their admissions requirements, understanding that not everyone will be able to take the SAT and ACT. Colleges also understand that students may have had interruptions in their extracurricular activities and stress that health and safety are more important at this time.

2.) Start early.

Each year, we ask our seniors what advice they have for our juniors, and each year, they say the same thing: Do as much as you can as early as you can. From discussing individual paths with college counselors, to requesting letters of recommendation from teachers, to writing essays, to completing applications, being mindful of what students can do in the present moment is crucial.

3.) Do research.

Explore personal preferences, including campus size, location, and program of study. Determine which schools meet your preferences and visit the websites of the academic departments that interest you to learn more about the student experience. Research which schools require entrance exam scores and supplemental essays as part of the application process—and how to specifically fulfill these requirements during these unprecedented times.

4.) Go digital.

While it may not be the same as physically visiting a college campus, most schools offer virtual tours and online information sessions for prospective students. This allows students to get to know particular colleges and universities from afar, helping them decide which schools to visit in person when the time comes.

5.) Reach out.

If virtual tours are not readily available at a particular school, contact that school’s admissions office. There may be other opportunities such as speaking with an admissions officer or current student or remotely sitting in on a class or panel. Shipley’s College Counseling team can assist students in reaching out to colleges and universities.

Get more tips from Shipley's College Counselors in the video below.

Learn more about Shipley's individualized College Counseling approach.

About the Author


The Shipley School is an independent, coeducational day school in Bryn Mawr for pre-kindergarten through 12th grade students. Through our commitment to educational excellence, we develop within each student a love of learning and a desire for compassionate participation in the world. Through a strong college-preparatory curriculum in the humanities and sciences, our school encourages curiosity, creativity, and respect for intellectual effort. Shipley upholds and promotes moral integrity, a sense of personal achievement and worth, and concern for others at school and in the larger community.