COVID-19 and the unprecedented public health challenges it poses has upended all of our lives. Our top concern is everyone’s health. Given the enormous change it poses to our students’ growth and wellbeing, we would like to share our thoughts and perspective. We hope to address your concerns to the best of our ability, but with a lot of things occurring right now, your guess is as good as ours.
Few of us have ever experienced something like this and this poses an incredible challenge to our lives.
Given that school pressures have lessened, consider this an opportunity to learn, grow, be creative, and stay true to yourselves. When colleges or future employers evaluate an application, they are assessing grit and an ability to overcome obstacles. If a dream program or opportunity was cancelled, find the best substitute that you can. Life rewards rolling with the punches and making the most of any situation. In the coming week, we will be putting together lists of online opportunities like coding classes, writing programs, and other enrichment activities for students interested in making the most of their downtime. Throughout this ordeal, stay positive, and keep learning and contributing, because this will provide you with perspective for this process and later in life.
Explore academic and career interests
The first question I ask every student is: “Where do you see yourself in ten years?”. This is a great time to explore career paths online (i.e. watch YouTube videos about the day in the life of different professions, read career blogs and other sites, etc.).
Reading helps you develop your own voices by exposing yourself to others. Not only does it help with reading comprehension for the SAT/ACT and writing college essays, but it enhances one’s ability to communicate, which is critical for any career path you embark upon. If you need recommendations for what to read, please ask us. We will be creating a list of book recommendations from our team shortly.
This is a great time to stay apprised of the news. Challenges create opportunities and understanding public health issues, economic risks, and other consequences from what we are dealing with can enhance one’s ability to navigate this ever-changing world.
12th Grader Specific Concerns
We know this was supposed to be your time for a victory lap and, for that, we are truly sorry. Second semester senior year is probably the only time many of our students are afforded to relax and enjoy high school. We hope you are able to do so at home.
Question: How will I pick a college to attend if I can’t visit it?
Answer: It is hard to commit to a place you haven’t visited. While schools are closed and travel bans are being contemplated, please consider taking an online tour of the colleges you have been admitted to. You can get a great sense of what a campus feels like 24/7 from home. Feel free to reach out to like-minded peers attending the colleges you are considering. If you need an introduction to a student at a particular college, we can check to see if we have worked with anyone in the past that may be a good fit for your family to speak with. We are also happy to share with you what we know about the schools you are interested in.
Question: Can I contact the college admissions offices for more information?
Answer: We are under the impression that most, if not all, college admissions offices are closed. If you need to speak to an admissions officer about deposit deadlines and arrangements, emailing your assigned officer may be the best way to communicate with them. Check for contact information in any correspondence you have received, through your applicant portal, or on the admissions office websites.
Question: What should I be doing right now?
Answer: Focus on what is under your control.
The world still remains at your fingertips and as school and activities are cancelled, please focus on the aspects of life that you are able to exert influence or control over.
Testing and Test Prep
The ACT has been cancelled for April and May. Whether the tests will be offered in June or July is subject to change. We do not know what will happen in the months to come. If you were planning on taking either the SAT or ACT in the coming month, we strongly recommend signing up for the June and July test dates NOW. The ACT is being offered for the first time in California in July with only one test site in the whole county. It will fill up, especially if prior dates are cancelled. Please reserve your spots now for summer test dates when the pandemic is expected to subside.
AP Scores: AP scores are used for college credit, and are not a factor for college admission. Do not stress if you cannot take an AP exam. We are happy to discuss which subject tests are appropriate for you based on your coursework (these actually help you earn admission).
The hardest balancing act to achieve in this entire process is finding time for studying for the SAT/ACT and fulfilling school and extracurricular activity obligations. With additional free time, consider jumpstarting or doubling down on test prep. Effective test prep is sticky and test prep completed now will make a difference for a test in June or July. We have heard that tutors are offering virtual sessions to their students. If you would like to discuss your test prep plan, please let us know.
Our goal is for every student to develop their passions and harness them to make a difference in their communities. Why? We want you to be a leader for college and your career.
At a loss for what to do right now? Consider helping high-risk neighbors (elderly, etc.) with food deliveries and other projects to reduce their risk. Organize your peers or neighbors to be kind and caring for those in need. You will be asked when you write your essays, what have you done to make your community a better place. We hope you take this opportunity to do so, not just for college, but because it is the right thing to do.
Interested in writing a children’s book about the importance of washing your hands or social distancing? You can. From home. Continue to grow and contribute. This is time to show colleges what you are made of while supporting your community.
For many, we have discussed touring potential Early Decision options. As schools have shut down, these are no longer available. Please consider taking a tour in August if they are offered then. If they are not available, we can discuss an ED strategy at that time.
We are unsure what will be offered this summer. If in doubt, contact the program or organization directly but answers may not be available for a while.
School and Activity Closures
They affect everyone in the world, so they will not disproportionately affect any particular applicant more than anyone else.
Our Office Logistics
Beginning on Tuesday, March 17th, we will be conducting all meetings virtually through FaceTime, Skype, Google Hangouts or the phone. We want everyone to be safe and reduce the risk of transmission to vulnerable populations. Given that school is cancelled, we may ask to reschedule late evening appointments to earlier in the day.
We are here to support your journey, as uncertain as it may feel at times. We are looking forward to banding together in support of our community as we find ways for you to thrive.
To your health and happiness!
Greg and the Kaplan Educational Team