COVID-19 and the College Search Process

From Marissa Turchi

Coronavirus has dosed the world with a prevailing uncertainty –  spreading panic and testing our anxiety thresholds. During this unprecedented time, everything feels weird and awkward and a bit surreal. The College search process is no exception to this state of weirdness, but luckily, we’re in this together!

Amidst all the uncertainty, there is a piece of certainty that warms my soul: Bryn Mawr College is certain to be a steady force for current, admitted, and prospective students as we collectively navigate the impact of these changing times. Most importantly, we understand. We understand that current high school students are wondering how virtual learning will impact their overall transcript. We understand that international students are concerned about not being able to complete national exams this year. We understand that families are worried about the future economic impact on college affordability.

We don’t have all the answers right now, but we are committed to working together and staying in contact with students, parents, families, and school counselors. Call us, email us, join our virtual information sessions, read our blogs and student testimonials. Engage with whatever communication channel feels good for you right now. Just know we are here.

Now, let’s take a deep breath and figure out how to navigate the college search process these next few months.

  1. Maintain normalcy as much as possible. Do you have a family routine when it comes to the college search? If you don’t, this is a great time to start! Maybe you’re keeping a spreadsheet or dedicating an hour a week to talk about the search. Keep doing these things. Colleges have temporarily adjusted their services, but your search has not stopped.
  2. Stay present. There is a lot that is uncertain right now. Instead of worrying about things you can’t control, try to stay present. You can keep thinking about the type of college you’re interested in attending and keep moving forward with your search, but don’t let the “what-ifs” consume you
  3. Connect with yourself. Practicing social distancing is a great time to connect with yourself. The college search process requires an understanding of self: What types of environments help you to thrive? What are your social needs in a group setting? What types of personal growth are you excited to explore? Spend an hour a week thinking about these types of questions, write down your ideas, and maybe your thoughts will help you choose a college or start your application essays.
  4. Visit virtually. Not being able to visit campuses isn’t ideal, but that is our reality. Fortunately, many colleges are offering ways to visit and connect virtually. Take advantage of these opportunities while they’re here! You can always call and ask to connect to your Admissions Officer as well.
  5. Tap into your network. Now is the time to ask your family and friends about their college experiences. Someone who has experienced the college of your choice is the best resource. Do some homework and figure out where your teachers, coaches, relatives, cousins, and older classmates went to college. Invite them to a virtual coffee hour and listen to their stories and successes.
  6. Know your sources and limit your media intake. We are experiencing a time of overwhelming media information. Try not to get lost in rumors or random social media posts; instead, get your news about changes in admission policies directly from the colleges. Most institutions are communicating regularly with all students right now – sign up for their email campaigns, follow them on social media, and check their websites regularly.

I know this is a time of great stress for many of you, but I believe that our shared experience will create even better avenues for collaboration, communication, compassion, and connection. Best of luck now and in all your future endeavors.

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