a year ago
Admissions Advice

What do I do if EVERYTHING is cancelled?

So I'm in the class of 2022, and the virus hit right in our guts, our literal vital breathing cores. I couldn't do anything last spring, my national tournament was cancelled, and then I couldn't do anything in the summer. NOW, I can hardly do ANYTHING because this virus continues, I probably won't be able to qualify for or play in nationals this year, won't be able to take the SAT in the spring (I haven't even took the PSAT yet! No merit scholarships to put on my resume either if I were to get one!) and I will likely not be able to do anything NEXT summer either. If you are also in this class, are you in the same boat? If everything is cancelled, including Gov Schools, Girls State, etc., how in the world will I be able to do anything substantial that relates to my major? How will colleges be able to tell anybody apart? How can I be able to have a spike if the only spikes I'm going to get are the crowns on the virus cell?

@alohomoraa year ago

Hello fellow junior! I think it's safe to say we're all in the same boat. Ever since the pandemic started, I stopped piano lessons, canceled my summer program, quit club ice hockey, and now might not have a varsity ice hockey season either. Instead, I'm trying to fill my time with academic competitions, virtual volunteering, and blogging. For example, I talked to my school and convinced them to offer the USABO for the first time ever and I started my own blog for book reviews and poetry.

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2 answers

a year ago[edited]

Looks like you need a lot of hugs in addition to getting some direction on what to focus on and apply your talents and efforts to.

Let's first take inventory and put some perspective on what's happened. The Class of 2020 had their Senior year cut short and they completely missed out on Spring sports, tournaments, Prom, Graduation, etc. The Class of 2021 is most likely going to have a full year of online learning and shall miss out on everything Senior as well. And your class has bright light waiting for you because the most likely senior year will be as normal as normal can be with on-campus learning, sports, and clubs.

So as a result of COVID-19, some things actually become simplified.

1.) Every college in the US is Test Optional. And from what I've seen so far with early admissions, colleges are accepting many students without test scores. This proves that you are not defined by your test scores. You might think it's a "Jedi Mind Trick" and feel compelled to do the opposite, but rest assure, worrying about Standardized Tests is the least important thing for an HS student. Furthermore, worrying about your PSAT test score and your merit scholarship is also an over-valued proposition. Just like you are not your SAT/ACT test score, you are not your PSAT test score. You should give Collegeboard the middle finger for putting millions of kids in danger. If you got a Collegeboard Merit scholarship it would only be worth $2,500 or less than 1% of your 4-year college education, more like 2/3% if you are planning to go to T20 elite colleges. You still need to come up with the other 99 1/3%. And I know some schools like USC give merit scholars like a 1/2 tuition ride if they are accepted but again that amounts to $120,000 and you'll still have to come up with the other 220,000. So while some still think USC is their dream school, I assure you that studying 4 years in the armpit of LA next to the 110 and 10 is really kind of gross compared to say Pepperdine or Pomona. So if you don't have to grind on these 2 tests, that's going to save you about 250 hours if you are a very serious student. I spent 150 hours on the SAT and 100 hours on the ACT. Yeah, I got a 35 but right now it doesn't matter. Put it this way having 250 hours to spend as you wish is a blessing.

2. No one cares about SAT essays or ACT essays either, so that's another thing you don't need to worry about. I spent about 25 hours studying for each of these essays so that's another 50 hours you don't have to waste on them.

3. No one cares about SAT subject tests because they are a subset of the SAT and if the SAT is test-optional so are all the subject tests. If they were important, then MIT and Caltech wouldn't make them test-blind. In fact, Caltech is testing blind for 2 years on all standardized testing. And all the UC schools are test blind on everything as well. And will get rid of all Collegeboard and ACT.org testing for the biggest college consortium in the US. I spent like 35 hours each for 3 subject tests so that's another 105 hours you don't have to work on.

4. Only certain Big college football teams and other D1 teams are doing sports but if you keep track of that, you know that it's not very successful. At some large Southern schools nearly 1/2 of the football players are in quarantine and useless. I was the Captain of my water polo team and during this senior year, I have zero pool hours...."ZERO!" But that doesn't really matter because none of the colleges I applied to are playing water polo right now anyway and I don't think they are going to until next fall. So the way I look at it is that if the colleges aren't doing it, they are not going to recruit me for 2022 anyway so I didn't make it a big priority or spike on my application. It was much less important than my other ECs. Plus let's see I saved like 200 hours of practices and games this semester so I could focus my efforts on other things I was interested in.

Last Spring I had to start re-adjusting my expectations and goals. I knew that all the school clubs were a dud and there was no reason to care if I won the Student Body President election so I didn't fight for that. And voila, it's true, no one cares about a virtual ASB student body that can't accomplish anything so I dodged a bullet. And since water polo was a bust, I decided to focus on community service and creative writing and taking online college courses. So what I'm saying is that you sometimes have to switch gears and change your focus. My Senior year resume now looks completely different than what I thought it would be.

Instead, I became editor of our online school newspaper, the Co-Chair of our School Board's DEI advisory board (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion), a board member of our city's anti-racism community organization, I serve on the steering committee of our local library's literacy projects, and joined like 20 online activist groups ranging from helping and support women, persons of color, LGBTQ folks, getting people registered to vote, helping candidates getting elected, etc. I entered like 10 scholarships, mostly big ones but some small ones. I started an online "ZINE" with my friends and published it. And I found out that my friends rely on me for support and encouragement because many of them are clinically depressed and their parents are stressed out too!

So by not having to do just 4 things ( and you know there are many more things you might not have to do ), you are going to have 500 hours of time to focus and readjust your time to something personal, meaningful, and impactful. That to me is a gift. Don't waste it.

Why should you listen to me? Well, I got into the #3 ranked national college this week on my own steam and didn't have to rely on my Varsity sports or other leadership things that required personal contact.

I appreciate the vent sesh and frustration but do something good with it and redirect it toward accomplishing what you really want okay.

There are many ways to get into college and just because your master plan didn't work, you just have to change the plan. 3 to 4 million kids apply as freshmen to US colleges from around the world and believe me everyone's master plan went "KAPUT".

Good luck with your future adjustments, I'm certain once you see you are in charge, and you alone can change your mindset, you will appreciate what I wrote here.

a year ago

Listen, it's not just the class of 2022. Think about the other classes. As part of the class of 2021, I almost couldn't even take the SAT subject exams and SAT tests. My research internship and coding program went virtual diminishing their values slightly and everything went downhill. But luckily for you, many programs are going virtual. If you seek those programs and do them while other people complain about not being able to find any, you are gonna be ahead and shows that you have some initiative but that's a stretch. Anyways, don't fret. Just spend a hour or two searching for opportunities and noting them down.


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