Rising Seniors - Are our kids doomed?

It seems with current seniors deferring, no ability to take standardized tests, and P/F spring, admissions for our kids is a total crap shoot and the competition will be intense than ever. More kids applying next year and fewer seats. Our kids will probably not even be able to visit schools prior to applying, and maybe not even after being accepted. I feel so bad for our kids.

Anyone see signs of hope? Will colleges limit the number of deferrals? Looking for something positive.

I would hope colleges would limit deferrals, but it could depend on the school.

I would expect next year to be a little more competitive. Perhaps the year after too.

The winners may end up being full pay students and high-performing URMs.

Do you think the number of deferrals leading to increased competition next year will have a larger impact than the opposite trend, foreign students not coming here? I doubt it.

The colleges will be tripping over themselves to admit full pay foreign students. They are all hurting financially

No, between borders and consulate offices being closed and with the virus not being well controlled, there will be way way fewer international students.

Yes, full pay kids will have a much larger edge at all but the richest/most selective schools. Unfortunately it will not be “more kids applying for fewer seats”. With 25% unemployment (or whatever the number ends up being) there will be fewer applicants.

Kids with great records but who test poorly will benefit from the test optional policies.

Many schools will limit deferrals/gap years so there won’t be a backlog of 2020s. Schools that aren’t limiting gap years have already said that those kids are not guaranteed to come back in the year of their choice. The schools are not so short-sighted that they are about to substantially harm the class of 2021.

I predict that the tables will turn, and qualified applicants will be at a premium, and that schools will be competing much more for them than they ever have.

“doomed”? I think you’re putting too much importance on unimportant things. Can your kid get into a college and can you afford to pay for college? If the answer is yes, then he/she is not doomed.


I agree that demand (applicants) will likely be lower, especially for more expensive colleges. Admissions will adjust for P/F and test scores; many schools are going test optional; everyone is in the same boat so it doesn’t make admissions necessarily harder or more selective.

As for “fewer seats”, yes there are fewer actual physical seats/chairs, but I don’t think any colleges are reducing enrollment to deal with physical distancing. They are working hard to keep their enrollment at usual levels…this is a financial imperative for the schools. Same with gap years; there is a financial disincentive to grant a huge number of gap years.

One of my kids’ schools can do private visits now, so visits might be coming back.

I agree with cinnamon1212 that it is much more likely that colleges are competing more for the applicants than the other way around next year. That’s not to say that the class of 2021 has not been dealt a very tough hand. But I don’t believe that admissions difficulties/harder competition is a part of that rough hand.

It all stinks but I feel worse for this yrs graduates (both HS and college - full disclosure I have a current HS graduate)

HS - no prom, graduation, senior week, awards nights. No visiting their colleges prior to making decisions (we didn’t go up front as we wanted to see where she was admitted). No real HS closure. And probably the worst thing- a very odd (at best) future freshmen yr in college. No physical orientation, combination of virtual and in person classes (hopefully), face masks everywhere outside the dorm, no big gatherings (which is so prevalent for first semester freshmen). The list goes on and on.

College - so many have lost their jobs and/or internships before they even got a start. 40M unemployed not a great environment for job seekers. But when they do get that first job, it will likely be a totally different experience. WFH is not going away. Major companies are jumping on board to let their people WFH for yrs and/or permanently. Corporate America is rapidly changing in the way work gets done. Companies are reporting they’ve expedited their digital capabilities by 5 - 10 yrs in 2 or 3 months and it’s working. Not a bad thing for seasoned vets but I wouldn’t want to be starting out in that type of environment. How does mentoring, training. camaraderie, conferences, group projects etc. take place? Much of it will be virtual. AND and abrupt end with no face to face closure of their college yrs. Missing the last half of their last semester with all their buddies. That STINKS!

These kids are proving to be quite resilient. It is what it is. Everyone has to deal with it.

In your other thread you said your son has “good” grades and scores, so if there’s no testing this summer he should be fine. I think it’s always a good idea to build your list from the base up, so pick a couple academic and financial safety schools first.

The greatest impact next year will be on students from low income families. I think that people who can afford to pay a respectable portion of the cost of attendance will be able to find a spot somewhere. It’s the families who need substantial aid whose kids are going to have a greater challenge. I think everyone else will be fine. They may not get into their top choice, but we see a lot of that every year.

I believe a lot of colleges are limiting gap years this year, and others are telling kids if they take one they might not get to come back when they want to come back. I used to be very worried about this, but thankfully it seems most 2020 kids are being flexible and adapting to the new realities. The 2021 kids might also not have the usual college experience, especially during their first year, if we don’t have a safe vaccine by then. Life rolls on and we all have to make adjustments in our expectations so we can all get through this together.

Full pay will rule the day. That is the one thing I think everyone can 100% agree on.

Not being able to visit colleges over the summer is difficult for finalizing a list, I agree. I do think at least some colleges will be open to visitors by late summer or early fall though, so prioritize the visits to the colleges that seem most interesting. We have an in-person visit still on the books for August 1 at a New England LAC. That may be canceled of course, but we have hope.

I think the fact that many colleges are telling students they may not be able to return when they want will limit the number of gap year students. The seniors we know this year are not planning on gap years–they all feel it is too long to have not much to do. My son has been home from college since March and he will not likely take a semester off–something we talked about earlier in the pandemic. He finds out in July what his college is planning. I really hope my rising high school senior can visit some schools in the fall.

Rising seniors are not doomed. I agree that if the parent can afford to pay for college at all, the student will have choices. In four years, I should think the recession will have waned. I agree that the students who will suffer the most from all this are the college grads of this year, and next year too. I’m so thankful my daughter has jobs, one current and one due to start in October.

This. Just like every other year, anyone who wants to go to college will be able to. I think it will actually be easier for kids who are willing to go out of state because like this year, more parents are going to want to keep their kids closer to home.

I don’t think they are doomed. Colleges will want to spread their net wide to get their $. This year, so many kids are our school got into Berkeley and UCs where I didn’t think they would get in based on the caliber of kids in previous years who couldn’t get into the same universities.

Any quality colleges will provide our kids with a solid foundation. Kids are resilient. They are resourceful. They will figure out how to network to preview dorm set up… They’ll chat with people to get a feel of the surrounding campus cities. I wouldn’t worry too much. Part of this growth is to explore and learn and future it out on their own—especially if your child truly wants to go far.