College Admissions 2020: What Has Changed?

COVID-19 Challenges to Admission Process In Brief

Deciding on the college to spend the next four years of your life is a hard one, and today it has become even harder. Along with the global crisis, the college admissions process in 2020 is fraught with even more unfamiliar challenges.

The coronavirus outbreak led academic institutions to reimagine the enrollment process and interaction with accepted and prospective students overall. In response to the pandemic, both on-campus events and day-long experiences have been postponed or canceled. With face-to-face interactions transferred into virtual opportunities only, how to choose the right college, and keep in pace with all rescheduled/canceled admission procedures?

Whether you’re a high schooler hunting for the perfect college or a senior searching for the final details before heading off home, a lot of questions remain unanswered. Don’t lose patience, though, you are not alone searching for answers.

This post will provide you with some key learnings on the current admission process to ease your academic path.

college admission in 2020

What are the changes in admission in 2020? 

Applications will be evaluated within the context of the global pandemic as safety comes first. There’s no reason for high schoolers to panic while perusing colleges; you won’t be penalized for things you couldn’t accomplish because of the virus outbreak.

Many schools go test-optional, so standardized tests may not be available in 2020. 

To keep students safe, tests like SAT and ACT are less required by schools’ directories (either canceled at all). The only problem is that while schools have gone test-optional, and students may not include standardized test scores, not all colleges adapt the same. So you should better reach out to the admission officers to clarify all the details.

Colleges will base entry not on grades alone, bet rather on “holistic admissions.”

By “holistic admissions,” we mean evaluation of all parts of the student’s application. Today, your admission isn’t all about the grades, but also about essays, participation in science fairs, recommendation letters, and others. Applicants have an opportunity to explain their grading during COVID-19 circumstances via the common app, essays, or simply through their high school profiles.

Get prepared to boost your application developing skills online.

Obviously, both learning and working environments have gone virtual and for a good reason. Accessing resources online remains the safest way to bridge the gap and develop the required skills and knowledge. Many universities have created free online programs for their freshmen. In case you are already accepted but feel like you have lost an important part of your course curriculum due to the global pandemic – don’t procrastinate to find out whether your new academic alma mater has some online resources for you.

And the last but not the least recommendation we’d like to give you is:

Keep track of your top choice colleges responding to the global pandemic. 

Turn an eye towards how your preferred academic institution takes care of its community (i.e., online tuition, public benefits, financial aid). College responds to the COVID-19 challenges will give you an insight into what treatment to expect when you decide to join the selected learning community and sign on the dotted line.

What are the deadlines for admission in 2020?

 On a large scale, admission components remain unchanged across institutions; however, many of them take their effort to extend their deadlines and waive entrance exams due to many testing dates canceled due to the pandemic.

There are currently 261 colleges with admission dates closing within the next 30 days for high school seniors, with 360 colleges still accepting applications overall. 521 college deadlines have already passed, so you really shouldn’t postpone submitting your application.

Just for your consideration, here is a 10-point list of college deadlines in 2020:



Regent University

July, 28

Tennessee University

August, 1

University of Wyoming

August, 10

Francis Marion University

August, 15

Indiana State University

August, 15

SUNY Institute of Technology at Utica Rome

August, 30

Northern State University

September, 1

SUNY Maritime College

September, 1

Oakland City University

September, 8

Baker College of Cadillac

September, 24

Baker College of Allen Park

September, 24

Confirm the dates with your preferred college directly and make the final step to your college life.

How to Prepare for Admission?

The pressure of the senior year, along with the demands of college admissions panels are very likely to make your final year at high school feel like crunch time. To ensure nothing falls by the wayside, create a realistic schedule using the following timeline.


1. Ensure you are on track to graduate and fulfill college admission requirements.

2. Make a final version of your college list.

3. If necessary, register for standardized tests.


4. Stay organized and track your application statuses.

5. Fill and submit your college applications.

6. If you want to apply for financial aid, complete and submit your Federal Student Aid application known as FASFA.


7. Submit all required supporting school forms.

8. Review every acceptance and finalize your decision.


9. Congrats! You are on the finish line - ready for the college, and college is ready for you.

Top 10 College Admission Resources 

  1. The Common App. This app is one of the most seamless ways to manage the application process in more than 800 colleges/universities worldwide. Apart from details on applying process, it also contains valuable info and recommendations about financial aid, scholarship, and everything you need to consider creating your college roadmap.
  2. College Navigator. This is a completely free resource provided by the U.S. Department of Education to find and explore schools across states. The website isn’t that catchy, but it supplies students with a treasure trove of valuable information, though.
  3. NACAC College Admission Status Update During the Coronavirus Outbreak. NACAC’s website is another central resource of information about how the coronavirus outbreak has changed the college admission process. The provided page contains plans and policies for admissions of numerous colleges and universities; again, on a global scale.
  4. Virtual Campus Tours. This may be the most entertaining point from the list. The platform allows prospective students to explore video tours of 600+ college campuses without leaving your house.
  5. As Colleges Move Away From the SAT, Will Admissions Algorithms Step In? This is one of the ACRAO blogposts with the ACRAO itself being a non-profit, professional association of educators representing approx. 2,600 institutions located in more than 40 countries. This article will provide you with a guide of who’s most likely to succeed in the admission process and why.
  6. SAT and PSAT-Related Coronavirus Updates. Searching for the most relevant SAT updates? Here you go. The website contains every little thing on SAT testing, including Fall 2020 Dates, flexible college admissions and how they manage SAT scores, and a comprehensive FAQ section to answer your prospective inquiries.
  7. Canceled and Rescheduled ACT Test Centers. ACT is giving students more opportunities this fall and adds dates to the ones scheduled before. In case, you need to pass ACT, follow the link and check for canceled and rescheduled ACT centers.
  8. Tips to Improve Your SAT and ACT Scores. Informative article with tried-and-true strategies to raise your SAT and ACT scores while remaining calm, collected, and focused on the process.
  9. Seven Really Smart Things to Do When Filling Out College Applications. Easy-to-follow tips on how to offer college counselors a stellar application that will represent who you are as a student and person to make your candidature stand out of the crowd.
  10. 8 Tips for Crafting Your Best College Essay. In this article, you will find 8 actionable tips from professionals of the field on how to reveal something more than your academic merit and give officers a sense of who you are (and showcasing your writing skills as a bonus).

Guide to College Admission

COVID-19 impacts have challenged the educational field far beyond current college learners and created more navigation issues for incoming students than ever before. The list comprises exam requirements, admission deadlines, face-to-face interviews, campus tours, and many more.

Despite the uncertain situation, you need to identify your prospective schools and take steps to ensure that you have all documents ready to apply. The short guide below outlines those steps.

Required Exams

As you probably know, SAT testing was canceled for June, giving U.S. students an option to take the test in August. The ACT has slightly changed its schedule and testing policy without canceling test dates and plans to provide at-home tests in August as well.

However, many institutions have adjusted their admission standards and canceled ACT/SAT criteria altogether.

Necessary Materials

  • Official High School Transcripts. At this point, students self-report their classes and GPA.
  • List of Honors and Achievements
  • Extracurricular Activities List
  • Standardized Test Scores (SAT, ACT, or another program-specific exam)
  • Letters of Recommendation

Personal Statements and Essays

While your grades and test scores remain important, intangible factors also play a crucial role, especially considering the shift of the education process due to the pandemic. Colleges will assess you beyond your academic achievements, so pay close attention to crafting a competitive personal statement. Typically, these short essays allow applicants to stand out from others, simply showcasing their creative and writing skills.

Letters of Recommendation

Most of the colleges require letters of recommendation for admission. These letters attest to your character, both academically and personally, and may come from teachers, counselors, or, for instance, employers. Do your best to establish strong connections with your high school teachers – it will make it c easier to ask for letters of recommendation.

College Interviews 

Despite your college interview shifted online, it wasn’t canceled and requires your thorough preparation. There’s only one chance to pass a college interview, so take your advantage using interview tips and getting an idea of what you may be asked in advance.


What application mistakes I need to avoid?

Commonly, most students take their time to represent their accomplishments in the best light without taking the same care about their specification.

​Other frequent mistakes include incomplete application submitting, spelling errors, and missing out application deadlines.

What are the best ways to make my application more competitive?

Apart from the college admission tip you hear all the time, there’s one extra thing often excluded from these recommendation lists. Students become the most competitive in counselors' eyes, when they demonstrate they are a great fit for the institution and why they can make the campus community better. So make sure you have fulfilled the activity list and included all measurable things you have done at high school.

If I have no standard test scores, how will my application be evaluated?

Except for academic performance and testing, counselors will evaluate student’s experiences, talents, and potential contributions to the college community. Test scores represent only one metric from the list, and it runs out of focus in conditions of COVID-19 danger.

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