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COVID-19 on College Application

AZNnationSZNAZNnationSZN 18 replies9 threads Junior Member
Hello! I'm currently a junior who has started the process of researching colleges and gauging my prospective chances at top-20 schools. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many of my EC competitions were canceled this year. I was going to compete at the national speech and debate tournament, I qualified for the national FBLA competition(3rd time), the NY Science Olympiad state competition was canceled, and my tennis season was canceled(looking to make states). Also, my summer research internship at a university was canceled as well. Although I realize many juniors this year have similar issues, being only qualified for national/state tournaments but not being able to compete and win any awards, how will college admissions consider applications? Will being qualified for the national competition(with a few state awards) in multiple competitions boost my admissions chances this year? I know that many students prepare for only 1-2 ECs but try and go for the "spike" hook(national/international recognition) but due to the pandemic, they are unable to win any major awards. Coming into junior year, I knew that I was probably too well-rounded with no major national/international awards to my name. But now, will I be compared more favorably to the students who would have had only one "spike" in their application since we are all just qualified for these competitions and no one has actually won?
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Replies to: COVID-19 on College Application

  • ArtsyKidDadArtsyKidDad 131 replies16 threads Junior Member
    edited May 18
    But now, will I be compared more favorably to the students who would have had only one "spike" in their application since we are all just qualified for these competitions and no one has actually won?
    The next year's admission process will be lawless, random, unfair, weird (add your own adjectives) Wild West. How can it be any different, with unequal access to testing, ECs ditched, APs in the "light" yet very stressful format, pass/fail grades in many schools, etc.
    But your question seems to assume there will be a consensus among admission officers of elite institutions - or any institutions - how to choose the right candidate. I don't believe there will be any, except for athletes and legacies.
    edited May 18
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  • AZNnationSZNAZNnationSZN 18 replies9 threads Junior Member
    Right, there is definitely no definitive way to secure admissions into prestigious institutions unless, of course, you are an athlete or legacy. My question was addressed towards how students who are not recruited/legacy have had success applying and being admitted. I know that many college admissions guidance counselors say a student who excels very well in one area is better than a student who is more well-rounded in multiple areas. However, because of how abnormal this year will be, I'm not sure how many students will be able to demonstrate their one "spike" as many events are canceled. Not saying that having a spike is the only way to get into college, but I am curious as to the chances that more well-rounded students who participate in music, sports, and academic clubs at a high level have at getting in compared to previous years.
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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 10405 replies123 threads Senior Member
    College admission is more than just one summer. They will look at the whole of your HS experience. There will also be a section to write about the impact of Covid -19 on your semester/summer so you can tell colleges what your plans were.
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  • AZNnationSZNAZNnationSZN 18 replies9 threads Junior Member
    Yes, I completely agree that college admissions is the whole of my whole HS career. However, I believe that junior year is where most students peak(I could be wrong) academically, musically, or sports-wise as they are the furthest in their education, have practiced longer, and have developed physically. I understand that there are those special cases were someone is uniquely gifted where they might have extraordinary achievements before junior year, I think most students add their biggest achievements/accomplishments spring/summer of junior year. I could be completely wrong here; can any recent high school graduates attending top-20/30 schools confirm or deny this?
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  • udonlordudonlord 56 replies5 threads Junior Member
    edited May 19
    I'm going to side with @momofsenior1 here.

    Don't be too focused on competitions and name-brand stuff. It's like having a pair of $4000 ice skates compared to the rest of your rink with rentals. Yes, you feel cool compared to those scrubs, and the quality is probably better, but they'll wear down eventually just like any other blades and your own skill will determine whether or not you're actually better with them. College admission officers are more concerned with how much skill you skate with, how you treat others who need your help standing up, and if you're nice enough to not be one of those little s**** that spray snow on others.

    Unrelated: I knew quite a few people that did some pretty cool stuff sophomore year (USABO, ISEF, oozing general excellence from every orifice).
    edited May 19
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  • ArtsyKidDadArtsyKidDad 131 replies16 threads Junior Member
    edited May 19
    OP: My point is that there will be a lot of improvisation, creating new rules for the new situation, attempting to level the field that cannot be really leveled under the circumstances. In this general landscape, the spike versus well-rounded issue seems like a luxury of the times long gone... at this point I don't think anyone can tell you how this will work out next year, not even admission officers.
    A disclaimer: my daughter is in the same situation, a junior whose very ambitious plans for the summer keep crashing, admissions to highly selective camps mean less as they are now online, etc.
    Do the best you can and be philosophical about it - that's my advice to D21, and to you. Not what you were looking for, I know.
    edited May 19
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  • jasonwang568jasonwang568 2 replies1 threads New Member
    Hey @AZNnationSZN Here's a helpful resource (a newsletter) from a former Brown admissions officer who through a series of posts, sheds light on how covid will impact admissions criteria. (https://thedecision.substack.com/p/admissions-is-changing-and-you-should) Hope it helps!
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