*We have adapted the Newton North High School document for BHS students. In addition, some of the information above is adapted from https://www.advancedivyprep.com/
As always, please reach out to your assigned counselor at their email address or BHS College Counselor Lenny Libenzon at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone (617-388-8913) with questions, concerns,and/or support.
STANDARDIZED TESTING UPDATE
It remains to be seen if June test dates of SAT or ACT will be cancelled. If you registered for June, you should be able to transfer the registration to a future date.
The good news is that many colleges have already gone test-optional (at least temporarily) for the Class of 2021 and possibly beyond due to ACT/SAT test cancellations: Middlebury College, Amherst College, Williams College, Hamilton College,Tufts University, Boston University, all University of California universities, and Davidson College to name several. For a complete list of test-optional colleges please refer to this website - https://fairtest.org/university/optional
Please be prepared to have to take the ACT or SAT in August, September or later. ACT updates are here and SAT updates are here. Please plan to check for updates regularly, as things have changed very recently.
For juniors who have not taken their first official SAT or ACT:
If your first official SAT or ACT test was one that was cancelled, we strongly recommend that you
(1) register for the June SAT or June ACT, and
(2) take a full length practice test under realistic conditions soon. It will be easier to make decisions about what to do next when you have a recent baseline score in hand. Most students will benefit from continuing with their test prep right up until the June test, but this practice test score will enable you to fine tune that plan.
We also realize that some students’ test plans called for taking their first SAT or ACT on one of the cancelled test dates and then taking any SAT Subject Tests in June. For students who are on the SAT path, our advice is to prioritize taking the SAT in June over taking SAT Subject Tests (note you cannot take the SAT and SAT Subject Tests on the same date).
Keep in mind the vast majority of students aren’t going to need Subject Tests. Only a few schools have programs that recommend SAT Subject Tests. The SAT Subject Tests will be offered again in August and throughout the fall semester senior year.
For FREE online test prep, please click below:
BHS Library offers these resources - http://bhslibrary.weebly.com/test-prep.html
AP TEST UPDATES
The College Board is providing free resources to support remote learning, and they have just announced the plan and schedule for students to take AP Exams from home. Click HERE for more information. Please refer to this website for all AP tests updates - https://apcentral.collegeboard.org/about-ap/news-changes/coronavirus-update
RESEARCHING COLLEGES REMOTELY
COVID-19 has caused campuses to cancel classes, tours and admitted students days. There is no substitute for visiting a campus while it’s in session, attending a class, and talking to current students. However, there are a lot of online resources available to learn as much as you can in the meantime. It is comforting to know that colleges are being really flexible in their typical expectations and policies during the year of COVID-19.
VIRTUAL COLLEGE FAIRS
- International Virtual College Fair- Students are invited to register to chat with 18 universities from 7 countries including Ireland, UK, Australia, Spain, France, Canada and Switzerland via a virtual fair put on by The AIRR-NA Board on April 14 from 7pm-9pm EDT/4pm to 6pm PDT.
- Register here: https://www.airr-na.org/events/virtual-college-fair-2020/
- Strive Virtual College Exploration Week - Monday, April 20 - Thursday, April 23, 2020 - Register at https://www.strivescan.com/virtual/
- 300+ colleges from 44 states and 10 countries
- 96 sessions over 4 days
- Day and evening options
- Panel presentations on a range of topics for juniors and underclassmen
- Free and open to students nationwide
What about demonstrated interest?
Many (but not all) schools use demonstrated interest as part of their decision making process. Demonstrated interest is how a student signals they are interested in the college such as visiting the school, opening emails, clicking the links in an email, spending time on the website, and crafting well-written school supplemental essays. Since college visits are not an option for many right now, the other measures are likely to become more important. Rest assured, however, that everyone is in the same situation.
What you can do now from home:
- Sign up for college newsletters and updates
- Open every email from the colleges you are interested in
- Click on the links
- Spend time on the school’s website (cookies can track how long you spend on each page)
- Reach out to your admissions officers to establish contact and get any questions you have answered
- Attend Upcoming Virtual College Admission Events including tours and information sessions - Click on this google doc to view a growing list of colleges who have moved their tours and/or information sessions online in the coming weeks: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1ZOAtzZNAjwxoOQbKzMY2JvMll24LQHBXlpV158qQi0U/htmlview?usp=sharing&urp=gmail_link&sle=true
- Utilize the online resources listed below for your college search process:
The College Website: The college itself is a great place to start, and spending time on the website helps with demonstrated interest. You can learn about programs, majors, and extracurricular activities. Many will have videos of current students. Keep in mind that this is a curated view of the college, and you are unlikely to get a complete picture of the negatives associated with each school.
Admissions Blogs: These can provide a wealth of information. Some have posts from students about their experiences. Others post about how to approach admissions essays or what the college values in an applicant:
Virtual Campus Tours
- YouVisit - https://www.youvisit.com/collegesearch/ - Experience 1,000+ colleges & universities in virtual reality
- CampusTours - https://campustours.com/ - Provides interactive campus maps and college tours
- YOUniversity - https://www.youniversitytv.com/ - College Video tours provided
- CampusReel - https://www.campusreel.org/ - Videos created by students. Not quite as many videos as you can find on YouTube, but they are better organized.
YouTube: There is an abundance of information both official and unofficial posted on the web. All you have to do is search “Your favorite college + you tube” or “Your favorite college + your favorite topic.” Colleges and students post about everything on YouTube. If you want to know about the food in the dining halls or what the dorms look like, you can find it online. You can get unofficial campus tours, rants about what students like and do not like, info about specific classes, and much more. Many schools also have official YouTube pages with official tours, lectures, and news. Here are some samples from Northwestern University:
- Northwestern’s official page: https://www.youtube.com/user/NorthwesternU
- Watch the rock in real time: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EdQPn86BfCE
- Northwestern’s promo video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZOUvOTmLScA
- Here’s an engineering major taking us through a week at Northwestern: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qTWAJLBKWpE
College Data: https://www.collegedata.com/
Statistics on admissions, cost, majors, housing. This is a great free resource for easy to access data.
Reviews by students on a range of topics.
College Express: https://www.collegexpress.com
Provides lists of schools based on many factors. You can search by college or by school characteristic. For example: colleges for the outdoorsy student, colleges worth every penny, most vegetarian-friendly colleges. The site also has lots of general statistics on each school.
Check out this amazing New Spreadsheet with all of the above resources and College Board data combined!
What about my extracurriculars during COVID-19?
During this pandemic, there are major adjustments to how you spend your time. Although volunteering, some clubs, and sports teams are not meeting, there are ways to adjust and make opportunities out of this time at home.
Some ideas include:
- Create virtual workouts for your sports team
- Organize a food drive or provide virtual social connection for the elderly in your neighborhood
- Provide remote tutoring or virtual music lessons for elementary-aged students
- Create an online presence with tutorials on your own YouTube channel - for example, a self-help tip, a how-to lesson, or a stop-motion video
- Students with computer programming skills can do home-based coding, create apps or websites for nonprofits that need help. Check out Code for Social Good, DonateCode, or Benetch.
- Volunteer politically with Rock the Vote which offers opportunities that can be done remotely, or google “remote volunteer internships” for your favorite candidates
- Keep a journal of how and what you are doing during this historic pandemic
- Look for virtual academic volunteering opportunities through the Citizen Science database.
- Another great place with lots of virtual volunteering opportunities is https://www.volunteermatch.org/. Select “Virtual Volunteering” in the banner on the top of the home page, then use the filters on the left-side menu to find options
- Take up running/jogging for exercise - train for that ½ marathon you’ve dreamed about
- Get involved with The MasksNow Coalition, an effort to get more protective masks to healthcare providers, including actually sewing them from a pattern provided
- Learn a new skill: Teach yourself how to play an instrument using YouTube videos, learn how to make a flower garden, try a new hobby.
We hope these ideas will inspire you to think in compassionate and creative ways that can actually strengthen your extracurricular experiences down the road. While we certainly are in uncharted territories about what colleges will be looking for, the best thing you can do is stay active and busy doing things that are important to you and your communities. You never know, next year during a college interview or on your college applications, you may be asked, “How did you spend your time during COVID-19?”
Lastly, an insightful article from the Tulane University Director of Admissions on how to cope during the time of COVID-19: http://tuadmissionjeff.blogspot.com/2020/03/coping-in-time-of-corona.html