Road Map for January: Seniors

Seniors are at the tail end of the application cycle and there’s a steady trickle of admission offers coming in, which will be followed shortly by invitations for admitted student events.  Last year, those events were moved online and I expect every college will offer virtual events again this year.  However, some colleges may hold events on campus as well, depending on the public health status in their locations. I encourage you to take advantage of whatever options you’re able to participate in to help figure out which of your choices is the best fit for you. Keep in mind that you should hear back from all of your colleges by the end of March, about a month before the deposit deadline of May 1. (Last year many colleges pushed this date back to allow students more time to decide; however, I don’t expect that to happen again this year.)

I’m thrilled for those of you who heard in December that you were admitted to your Early Decision choices (and I was so very touched to be one student’s second phone call, right after his grandparents, to share his good news.) If you didn’t get the outcome you wanted (and I heard from some of those students too), I hope you’re able to cope with the disappointment and be enthusiastic about your other choices. Students who are deferred from their first choice can take steps like sending a letter of continuing interest and information on any recent accomplishments, but you are also released from your original ED commitment and free to commit to another school that has an ED2 option. For guidance on navigating this phase, please do not hesitate to contact me.

If you are still interested in adding colleges to your list, the Common Application allows you to search by deadline in the “College Search” section. You may be surprised to hear that although we’ve passed the deadline for a number of prominent colleges, at this point in the year the vast majority of colleges are still accepting applications.  If you need additional support or ideas about adding a school or two, let me know.

In recent years there has been a steady trend of colleges making standardized testing optional, and that trend exploded this year. I’ve been getting a lot of questions about whether optional is really optional; everything I’ve heard from colleges is that it is, and now I have a real example. It’s only one institution, but Tufts University reported these numbers for its Early Decision 1 round: “57% of ED 1 applicants did not submit standardized test scores; 56% of admitted students did not submit scores.”

Finally, last year was a brutal year for almost everyone. If you wrote about the events of 2020 in your personal statement, Community Disruption (COVID) essay, Additional Information or supplements, the New York Times is interested in hearing your story.