Tips and Advice Blog

Don’t stress – college admission offices understand what’s going on in 20/21

Amy Tiberio, Vice President for Enrollment Management

The list of things that have been upended due to the pandemic is not short. Many of the “traditional” activities involved with the college search and admission process are definitely on there. Attending college open houses, meeting admission reps at your school or local college fair, taking your SATs or ACTs … you name it. And, how will the admission process be impacted by all the fall 2020 applicants who deferred their enrollment and the high school activities that were canceled last spring and this fall? We know you have a lot on your mind, so let’s tackle each one to help you feel better about this process – because you don’t need to stress!

  1. How do I do a college search if I can’t attend open houses or visit all my schools in-person? First, there are many colleges (including RWU) that are offering campus visits with lots of safety protocols in place. Capacities may be limited, so check web sites often and plan ahead. However, you won’t find large, in-person open house events right now. But, not to worry – colleges are being creative about offering virtual events that will still connect you with professors and students. In fact, most colleges are offering even more unique sessions and opportunities in the virtual space. You’ll find advice sessions on topics like writing your college essay, Q&A opportunities with current students, live-guided virtual tours, and more! We have really enhanced our virtual visit opportunities to get you as close as possible to the on-campus experience. Ask lots of questions and take advantage of any opportunity to hear directly from current students!
  2. What about “demonstrated interest”? You may or may not have heard this term. Essentially, it means that many colleges consider the actions you’ve taken that show your interest in their school - things like visiting for a tour or attending an event. Right now, you may not be able to or feel comfortable doing these things. You will not be penalized because we completely understand! You can also demonstrate interest by participating in virtual events, reaching out directly to your admission counselor, and thoughtfully answering any college-specific questions on the application.
  3. So many colleges are test-optional now, but what about scholarships? RWU has been test-optional for over 10 years for both admission and scholarships, so nothing really changes around here. But, other colleges that have changed their policies temporarily are likely changing them for scholarship consideration, too. Again, we understand what’s going on right now and are adjusting these policies to be as equitable as possible. Best to check with each college you’re considering, though, to confirm the details of their policy.
  4. Heard that many more students deferred their enrollment from last fall? We know that there is concern about how this might impact the competitiveness of the admission process for fall 2021. But, the reality is that for most colleges even the increased number of enrollment deferrals is still a tiny percentage of their incoming class. Therefore, the impact is not measurable. And, many of these students have deferred to the spring semester and not next fall.
  5. Colleges like to see involved students, but my activities were canceled, what now? This is another issue we are well aware of, and will not penalize students for. Perhaps there’s an opportunity to do a different activity, but most of us are just trying to get by and focus on staying safe right now. So, activities are not a priority when you have bigger concerns to address. Don’t worry. You can use the opportunity in your college application to explain how your activity involvement was affected so that we completely understand.

The moral of the story is that we won’t hold anything against you that you have no control over. And, colleges are being extraordinarily flexible, understanding, and adaptable during this time. So, #1 keep yourself safe and healthy, #2 do the best you can with everything else, and #3 reach out to us if we can help in any way. We are all in this together!

Tips and Advice Blog