COVID continued to have a major impact on students in 2021. While there were some positive changes (students found innovative ways to enhance their learning and explore their interests, schools re-engineered their admissions review process to be more holistic), it was still a difficult year for many.
As we bring this year to a close, here’s my lookback at 2021 and what you can do moving forward to strengthen your college applications.
- Grades went down for many students who found it difficult to learn remotely.
- Some students are struggling if they didn’t get a strong foundation in a subject last year.
- Options were limited.
- But many students took advantage of the time to explore new interests, rediscover old loves, and find ways to help their community.
- Lack of in-person interaction made it hard for students to build relationships with teachers.
- Many predicted that testing would become less important, but that hasn’t necessarily been the case.
- Florida and Georgia schools as well as Georgetown are still requiring test scores.
- Test scores are still used by some schools to determine admission and merit aid.
What Should Students Think About?
- What did you learn about yourself and how you learn best?
- How will this impact your college list? (Click here for more on Building Your College List.)
- How did you spend your time?
- What new interests have you discovered?
- How did you make an impact (big or small) at home, at school, in your community?
- Teachers that you were able to connect with by asking questions in class or through extra help sessions.
- If you don’t test well, what can you do to up your score?
- Which schools that meet your college criteria are test-optional?
- Focus on improving your grades.
- Ask for help from your teachers/tutors if you’re struggling in a class this year.
- Explore clubs at your school.
- Look for service opportunities at school, through your library, at your place of worship, in your community.
- Find online courses to explore new subjects and deepen your knowledge in your current interests. (Click here to learn about Summer Programs.)
- Get to know your teachers. (Click here for more on Recommendation Letters.)
- Ask questions in class and don’t be afraid to ask your teachers for help.
- Look for test prep that can help you improve your scores and schools that are test-optional.
Want to look back at the full year? Scroll through my 2021 blog posts to see what transpired.