March 21, 2020

Keep Current and Cope with This “New Normal”

In a continuing effort to provide updates that will help us get through this “new normal,” here is some more information about changes, strategies and suggestions.

AP exams to be restructured: In order to do as much social distancing as possible and to administer the Advanced Placement test fairly, the College Board has announced that 45-minute free-response online exams will replace the standard format. According to AP Central, the exam will cover only topics and skills covered by most teachers and students by early March.

Since some students will want to take the test soon while the coursework is still fresh in their minds and others will want more study time, there will be two different testing dates for each AP course. According to AP Central, colleges “support this solution and are committed to ensuring that AP students receive the credit they have worked this year to earn. For decades, colleges have accepted a shortened AP Exam for college credit when groups of students have experienced emergencies.”

The full exam schedule and more details will be available by April 3. AP Central is planning to provide free resources to students through the exam periods. If students want to cancel their registration for any exam, they can do so at no charge.

NACAC is regularly providing updates about changes to policies and deadlines posted by colleges and universities. This very useful chart contains information about where, when and how schools are currently hosting admissions events, whether they have changed their candidate reply dates or deposit deadlines, how to contact each institution’s admission or financial aid office, and links to more information. Read the instructions regarding the filters, which explain how to narrow your search and sort results. This tool updates in real time as NACAC receives input. It is an excellent resource. 

Virtual Tours: Many schools have turned their attention to fine-tuning their virtual visits. For example, Tulane University, which is well known for its enthusiasm for demonstrated interest, has created an outstanding virtual visit opportunity. Columbia University also offers an excellent virtual tour. Visit the websites of the schools you are considering to see if they have virtual tours as well.

Other ways to learn about colleges and universities from their websites:

  • Sign up for any online information sessions
  • Keep informed through each school’s social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, admissions blogs and podcasts, etc.
  • Learn if the school is offering individual opportunities to speak with admissions officers through Zoom, Skype, FaceTime or phone 
  • Access the school’s student publications that are available online

Common App continues to offer answers to questions and assistance with disruptions specifically related to the coronavirus. Email them directly.

Having trouble managing your stress and anxiety? Read College Essay Whiz’s Guest Post by Melissa Cohen, Licensed Clinical Social Worker and author.

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