Whether the end of your senior year has been turned upside down and your plans for fall along with it, or you're a junior whose school visits and entrance exams have been canceled, you're probably wondering some version of the same thing: "What now?" The effects of the coronavirus pandemic are expansive and have left us all with a lot of questions. We're here today to answer a few that are likely on your mind. If your question isn't answered here, leave a comment below!
Does Baker plan to host a graduation ceremony?
Since most of the schools are closed through the remainder of the year, we will almost certainly be having virtual graduation options. Stay tuned for more details on what this looks like. If you want to order a cap & gown no matter what the graduation plan is, here's the link for you.
Will I still have to make a college decision and deposit on May 1st?
May 1 has historically been the day to make your final college decision and send in your enrollment deposit. However, many colleges and universities are extending their deadline for students to accept offers of admission to June 1 in light of COVID-19 uncertainties. Check this list to see if your college is on the June 1 extension timeline. Keep in mind, you should only send in one enrollment deposit and one transcript from your high school, so your decision is final.
I can no longer afford to attend the colleges I was accepted to — what should I do?
If Plan A doesn't work out, there are 25 more letters, so stay cool! We have a few ideas for you if your finances or other circumstances have changed.,
First, we encourage all graduates to apply for the Oregon Promise, unless they are not planning to attend college or if they have already earned their AA degree. Students must apply for Oregon Promise by June 1, 2020 at 5:00 PM to be considered for the grant. Read our blog post for more details and this FAQ page to read more about updates for the class of 2020.
Second, revisit your financial aid. If you haven't filed your FAFSA yet, and perhaps hadn't planned on qualifying for financial aid, but the coronavirus took a toll on family finances, you still have time. You can submit the 2019-20 FAFSA until June 30, 2020.
Also, consider a financial aid appeal. Colleges and universities can adjust financial aid awards if circumstances have changed. SwiftStudent is a free tool that can help you write an appeal, guiding students through requesting more funding and understanding their eligibility. This is an awesome new resource that will even generate a letter that students can submit right to their school's financial aid office!
Finally, consider taking this next academic year off. With COVID-19 disrupting the work of millions of Americans, many parents can no longer help their children with college costs as planned, and even if they can, what will you be getting? The high costs of college/university tuition aren't going away, but now everyone is doing school online and potentially even into the next school year. So now that you may not have the "college experience," it's a great time to consider a gap year, which can provide some new direction and huge personal growth.
Will getting a pass/fail in classes this term affect college admissions or scholarship opportunities?
First of all, know that you are not alone! In the midst of the coronavirus turmoil in all educational institutions, the pass/fail grade scheme has been almost universal and college admissions and scholarship committees understand and are altering their criteria. How each school handles this will be slightly different, but the strength of your overall schedule, the totality of your resume, and your collateral materials like essays and letters of recommendation will speak to your application in the absence of any final letter grades. This is just one semester, one term...don't stress too much over this!
How can I get a feel for potential colleges without visiting in person?
Attending a virtual college fair is one fantastic way to check out potential colleges, and you're in luck because next week begins three weeks of the Strive Virtual College Exploration Week! This event is free and open to students across the nation. Register now for multiple options! Next week you have four full days of virtual presentations for juniors to explore colleges and attend panel discussions from experts in college admissions! In the following two weeks after that, you can sign up for 45-minute individual college info sessions!
Monday, April 20 - Thursday, April 23, 2020
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
Monday, April 27 - Friday, May 8, 2020
Individual College Sessions
45-minute sessions with live Q & A
What should I do about the SAT/ACT?
As of today, the next available SAT/ACT will be in August. Priority will be given to students who had already registered for a previous session that was canceled, and to juniors who've not yet taken the test. We recommend signing up when registration opens in May; however, we also know that many colleges and universities will be waiving their test requirements and/or going test-optional for the long term. So either way, take the SAT/ACT or not, you will have options. Read about the coronavirus updates here for SAT and here for ACT.
Should I still ask teachers for letters of recommendation this spring?
Yes is the short answer! These recommendations may be more important than ever, in light of the lack of letter grades and test scores, and limited extracurricular options during this time. Create a brag sheet that highlights your accomplishments and strengths and give to your particular teacher.
Overall, our best advice is that you're going to be OK. Nothing about your education or life experience right now is normal but know that there are good things to hold onto even now. We liked this quote from Patrick O'Connor, a Detroit-based counselor:
We are all in this together. While this takes away some opportunities for community with some, it creates new opportunities for community with others. That’s probably going to be centered more on family than friends as we hunker down for the next few weeks. This is an opportunity to create some very important moments with people you will not be with much anymore. As a senior, you are leaving and heading off to college. This is as good as a chance as always to create good moments with your family and build on that foundation before you head out.