Visiting multiple campuses helps you make better college choices. Taking the SAT or ACT three times – or at least twice – is recommended to maximize your test scores. The Coronavirus is disrupting both of those key steps in your college search. It will disrupt others as well.
So, what can you do right now to minimize the impact of school closings, social distancing and the like? Let’s identify key college search steps that you can take at home. As a sophomore or junior, I believe these steps will pay huge dividends by giving you more time for other steps – the ones you’re unable to take now – later.
- Craft Your Resume – If you don’t have one, this is a great time to write one. If you already have one, make sure you update and polish it.
- Investigate your academic interests – Dive into a book or class through Coursera that explores an academic and/or professional field you like. This exploration will open your mind to more academic options in college.
- Consider career options – This site gives you great resources for considering what personal interests serve as a good foundation for certain careers. Similarly, here’s information on a few, self-assessment quizzes to help you learn more about yourself.
- Select whether you’re going to take the SAT or ACT based on your strengths. If you don’t know which test you prefer, Find The Right College offers a diagnostic through a Standard Membership to help you identify the test that suit you best.
- Use online resources through Find The Right College, Khan Academy (SAT) , or ACT to help. Studying for these exams is a well-proven strategy to maximize your scores.
- Brainstorm your Common App essay topic and begin drafting that essay.
- Search for colleges. If, for instance, you know you like one college, try to find others like it. You can use the recommended parameters on this map or variables unique to your interests to advance your search. Niche, for instance, helps you search for colleges based on majors.
- Create a Going Merry Account to begin exploring Independent Scholarships that match with your interests and credentials.
- Consider a Gap Year. Taking a year between high school and college has – increasingly – become popular to help “set the stage” for making the most of college. If the disruptions you’re experiencing feel like too much to surmount, a Gap Year could give you the time you desire.
We don’t know when the SAT or ACT will offer their next test. And we don’t know when your high school or college campuses will re-open. But I bet you have more time on your hands than you expected.
How will you take advantage of this unexpected time? And what else do you need to take advantage of this time?
Email me your ideas and questions at firstname.lastname@example.org
Fitz has dedicated the entirety of his 25 year career to encouraging higher education opportunities. He worked in the Vanderbilt, Duke Law and St. Lawrence admissions offices prior to serving as an enrollment management consultant for dozens of colleges around the country. He partnered with his former Vanderbilt colleague, Nicole Cook, to form Find The Right College and support their mission to make trustworthy college counseling more accessible.