How Has COVID Affected The Application & College Transfer Process
Who thought the COVID-19 pandemic would have a significant impact on the college admissions process? Changes are still happening to admissions procedures as the rest of the world is trying to figure out solutions for managing COVID-19.
COVID-19 has impacted the college application process in numerous ways. Many higher education institutions have had to learn to adapt and evolve with the pandemic. This forced colleges and universities to re-access their admissions standards and requirements for the 2021-2022 applications. For instance, California’s public 4-year universities and several Private institutions decided to go “test-blind” by removing the SAT/ACT standardized test scores. Since college students are no longer required to submit test scores, many 4-year institutions have experienced an increase in applications during the 2020-2021 academic year.
One of the issues community college students face is whether their pass/fail grades from the 2020-2021 academic year will transfer. This leaves many higher education institutions with some leeway to accept pass/fail grades only for the spring 2020 semester. As colleges and universities continue to adapt to the pandemic, some 4-year institutions have been unclear about pass/fail grades acceptance for the fall 2020 semester. Grading criteria are evolving with the pandemic’s impact, and the pass/fail option seems to place a great deal of pressure on community college transfer students.
Gap Year & Deferment
The economic downturn has hindered graduates and current students’ ability to find employment to pay for classes or even pay off student loans. College students have had to consider different factors when deciding to take a gap year or defer their enrollment. A valid issue that students have brought up is the difficulty of self-isolating oneself in their home to take online classes and study. While the “traditional” gap year is unavailable due to the pandemic, many students have learned to explore new virtual opportunities. Students can also explore new projects such as developing an app, creating a new product, finding study solutions and learning a new language. By deferring their enrollment, some students may be able to improve their knowledge and acquire extracurricular activities that they otherwise would not have if they had not taken a gap year.
Hopefully, the pandemic will encourage many colleges and universities to make great strides in creating a fair and inclusive college admissions process. Institutional stakeholders need to collaborate with different departments to fuse physical and virtual learning to enhance students’ experiences. Postsecondary institutions should understand that students who are taking a gap year or deferring their enrollment believe that their degree will not be in demand by future employers. With these struggles in mind, higher education institutions should focus on creating an admissions process that respects the boundaries set forth by the pandemic.