The ongoing Coronavirus lockdown has impacted daily life for virtually everyone across the globe, from young children who cannot attend school and play with their friends to elderly retirement home residents facing the strictest lockdown and visitation protocols they’ve ever experienced. All walks of life are adjusting to this new reality, and things will be very different for the foreseeable future. The many changes that have occurred in a relatively short time are also affecting the college admissions process. Many class of 2020 high school graduates are not only missing out on traditional graduation ceremonies but also feel insecure about how they will continue their education in the coming years.
Changes in Competitive Admissions
Students wondering about their educational futures should keep a few key points in mind as they consider their options for continuing education into the 2020-2021 college school year. First and foremost, the top 4% of American colleges with the most competitive admissions will likely remain as competitive if not more than they usually are. They are not only incredibly discerning when it comes to admissions but are also popular choices for some of the best and brightest students from around the world. Many of these universities are stalling admissions procedures to see whether international students will be able to travel to attend classes in the fall.
About 16% of American colleges and universities accept anywhere from one fifth to one half of all applications received; getting into these colleges could be easier this year in the face of the COVID-19 lockdown. Many hopeful college students are narrowing their searches for schools to local colleges and more affordable local universities.
This is not only due to the current difficulties and restrictions surrounding travel, but also financial strain caused by parents losing jobs and local economies reeling due to the pandemic. About 20% of students are reporting that they would prefer to apply to less expensive schools and as many as 35% are reporting staying close to home in light of the ongoing health crisis.
More Accessible Financial Aid
Countless students rely on financial aid and student loans to attend post-secondary educational institutions, and many of these students might find that accessing scholarship money and other forms of student aid is actually easier in light of the pandemic. Bill DeBaun, the Director of Data and Evaluation at the National College Attainment Network says:
If you’re a student and you have any intention at all of enrolling in the fall or the next academic year, I would encourage you to complete the FAFSA so you have an understanding of what federal financial aid may be available to you.
Many students are turning down admissions or not even bothering to apply to schools at all, and it’s possible that financial aid may be a less competitive aspect of college admissions for the next few school years.
One of the most important determining factors in accessing financial aid for school is family income, and many prospective students for the 2020-2021 college school year may have parents who have lost jobs or been furloughed due to the pandemic. It’s possible that first quarter income for 2020 may not impact financial aid eligibility, but that remains to be seen.