How Is Coronavirus Affecting College Admissions?

Instructor: John Hamilton

John has tutored algebra and SAT Prep and has a B.A. degree with a major in psychology and a minor in mathematics from Christopher Newport University.

Is the coronavirus indeed affecting college admissions for students? Just read this helpful lesson to learn about some of the latest circumstances, as well as recommendations and useful tips for dealing with the outbreak.

College Admissions in the Age of the Coronavirus

As if the college admission process isn't stressful enough for everyone involved, now you can throw coronavirus into the mix. Students, parents, educators, admission counselors, and school officials are all seeing the way they deal with admissions issues altered by the changes in the world.

Ultimately, 'a return to normalcy' are the buzzwords circulating around college campuses these days. In the meantime, National College Decision Day regularly recognized on May 1st may or not be a key moment for us all.

Virtual College Tours

If you're stuck at home during the coronavirus lockdown and can't visit that gorgeous college campus that you've dreamed of since fifth grade, you may want to consider a virtual college tour. While truly appreciating the beauty of your chosen school in person can't be exactly duplicated, this option is a close second. Many schools offer virtual tours on their websites. You can also find various third-party websites that feature virtual reality, campus maps, and even 360 degree panoramic views of favorite college sites.

College Admissions Forums

Okay, so you've taken the 'virtual college tour' of several of your prospective choices, but you really wanted to chat with other like-minded students. No problem! You can visit college admissions forums, such as 'College Confidential.' That particular site even features a CampusVibe section.

Online Study Groups

Well, you've taken the virtual tour and you've chatted with other students in forums. Now what? You may want to study during the coronavirus outbreak, so you don't fall behind for when classes start up again in the autumn season. Fortunately, today's tech-savvy student knows that online study groups are a viable method for keeping the brain fine-tuned each day. These virtual group study sessions can be tailored to each student's needs, and cover a myriad of subject matters.

The online learning platform is also an ideal way to meet your college study needs. It features hundreds upon hundreds of fascinating animated videos under ten minutes in length on a multitude of subjects. Also, dozens of articles pertaining to the coronavirus outbreak are available for your perusal.

National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC)

This organization claims over 15,000 members, and its mission statement is to 'transform lives and strengthen communities by inspiring communities to achieve their higher education goals.' You can visit the 'college-admission-status-coronavirus' section of their official website to learn more about college admission events, deadline dates, and other relevant information.


When you hear the word college admissions, the word deadlines inevitably comes to mind. The NACAC has requested that colleges be as flexible as possible with their deadlines. For instance, one group of colleges has already moved a deposit deadline from its original May 1st deadline to a June 1st deadline. It is widely expected that other colleges will soon follow suit, and in the future deadlines of various types may be moved back even further.

Admitted Student Weekends

One of the fun and informative portions of the college experience is that first weekend when newly-admitted students tour the campus. Unfortunately, due to the coronavirus, many institutions, such as Harvard, have canceled these popular events. However, Harvard has replaced its April 18th-20th, 2020 events with 'Virtual Visitas' events, to be held online instead. Furthermore, Harvard notes students can access these sessions and videos for the entire month of April, at their convenience.

Acceptance Rates

One perhaps unusual byproduct of the coronavirus situation is that students may find it easier to get accepted into their favorite college. This is because not only are many colleges being more flexible with test scores, but also they are trying to make sure they have enough students enrolled in the autumn semester.

Demonstrated Interest

When we think of college admissions, grades, test scores, and extracurricular activities usually come to mind. However, the more ambiguous concept of demonstrated interest is actually a key factor, according to many admissions representatives. How do students show this trait if they don't even visit the college? They can go online to their college's mailing list, and then click on any correspondences sent by that college.

Financial Aid

What incredibly complex situation just became even more complex due to the coronavirus? Financial aid packages for incoming college students are more complicated now. Questions include:

  • How will scholarships be affected?
  • How will rules vary between colleges?
  • How will things differ between public and private institutions?
  • How will states and federal governments deal with repayments?
  • How will students repay loans?

The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) website offers various online tools and resources for students, parents, and counselors too.


We can't broach the subject of the coronavirus and its effect on college admissions without touching upon the already controversial topic of ACT, SAT, and AP testing. The College Board has released a statement declaring the May 2, 2020 SAT test to be canceled already. However, as of this writing the June 6, 2020 test has not been canceled yet.

Should Tests Count?

The larger picture here is in what ways will all the coronavirus confusion ultimately affect decisions made by school admissions representatives. Many people are already calling for the test scores to be thrown out completely and have students judged only on the merits of their academic and extracurricular records. What will transpire in the end remains to be seen by us all.

International Testing

Unfortunately, many international students are now finding it more difficult to take their required admissions exams and gain admittance to U.S. institutions. For instance, China has already canceled both its GRE and GMAT tests, which are important prerequisites for graduate school admittance.

In the End

While the coronavirus outbreak has changed the college admission process for the 2020-21 school year, a variety of online options and some good old student ingenuity will go a long way to making college students' dreams come to fruition for them.

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