Planning for College in a COVID-19 WorldWritten by Kristi Mast
The coronavirus pandemic has affected nearly every aspect of our lives, and schools especially have been upset. For students searching for colleges to attend in the fall of 2021, the pandemic has made an already difficult process even harder. In order to plan for college in a COVID-19 world, it’s important to have a healthy mindset and to start taking practical steps towards the future now.
Shift Your Mindset
The high school seniors of 2021 are the first ones in over a century to plan for college in the middle of a global pandemic. But this doesn’t have to be an obstacle; rather it can be a valuable opportunity to take initiative and responsibility for your future. The pandemic has canceled a lot of things, but it doesn’t need to cancel your career and certainly can’t cancel your life mission. “Pivot, don’t panic” is a mantra from self-help author Jon Acuff that encapsulates the choice we have. Planning for college will be different this year than it has been in the past, but that means you have an opportunity to innovate and rise to the challenge.
If you’re thinking about college in the fall of 2021, resist the urge to wait until things are more settled or clear. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it is that change is constant. But this is not a reason to delay doing your research and making your plans. Things will almost certainly change significantly between now and the fall of 2021, but you have nothing to lose by starting. In fact, if you don’t start now it will be easy to get behind in the process or be unprepared to take action when things are more settled.
Start now by taking practical steps to research the schools that interest you. First, visit college websites to see what they’re about and what they have available. Browsing social media accounts is also a good way to get a feel for the flavor of different schools, who they are, and what they emphasize. Some good questions to ask as you explore online resources are:
- What sets this school apart from others like it?
- How will this school provide for my educational and spiritual needs?
- What kind of content is this school producing?
- How have they pivoted in light of the pandemic?
Attending virtual events is another excellent way to take action. Because most colleges are not able to host the normal in-person events, many are shifting these events online. Not many people prefer a webinar or Zoom event over face-to-face interaction, but don’t give up on virtual events because you’re tired of them or because they are harder to enjoy than in-person events. Attend the events that colleges are offering because, while it takes more effort to engage, virtual events give you many of the same opportunities as in-person events with a lot more flexibility. Lesley Britton, our Director of Admissions, said, “While we know virtual events are not quite the same as being in person, we are fortunate that technology does allow us to connect on a new and different level.”
Here at Sattler, we’re planning three virtual info sessions (September 22, October 22, and January 9) and a virtual open house in the first part of October. For myself, visiting schools, meeting faculty and staff, and interacting with students were the most helpful in making my decision about which college to attend.
“At Sattler,” Lesley continued, “we are committed to doing our best to make sure every student knows what it’s like to be part of the Sattler community. We want to connect prospective students to current students, faculty, and our college leadership as well, including the founder and president. That's the true measure of what Sattler is; the people are what make up Sattler.” And that’s why virtual events are an important part of your path to college in 2020-21. Even though the technology can be intimidating and potentially awkward, the best way to get the information you need is to be brave and ask to interact. “If prospective students reach out to meet and talk with our faculty, staff, and students, they will definitely get the right feel for what it's like to be a student at Sattler.”
The college application process has been disrupted this year, but that does not mean that students are without options. By shifting your mindset and taking practical steps to engage with colleges, you can take control of the application process, even while many things are still shifting and uncertain.
Interested in learning more about Sattler's upcoming virtual events? Speak with our Director of Admissions, Lesley Britton, by scheduling a call today.