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10 Tips to Prepare for College During The COVID-19 Pandemic

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Regardless of where you are in the college admissions process, your college planning doesn’t need to fall off track during the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic. Here are 9 tips for high school students on how to prepare for college and take care of your physical and mental well-being while you are home.


1. Find scholarships for college

Believe it or not, scholarships are everywhere; and almost all college applicants are looking to apply to them. Our free Scholarship Finder helps you find scholarships that are looking for students like you — with your academic qualifications, interests, and other personal characteristics. It is also a good idea to look for financial aid opportunities as well.

You’ll need to put serious effort into your applications and essays if you hope to stand out and receive money for college.

From the blog of CollegeData’s provider, 1st Financial Bank USA, here are 10 Ways to Stand Out When Applying for Scholarships.


2. Move on from rejection

When applying to a college, there are only three responses you can receive: a notice of acceptance, a notice of rejection, or a waitlisted notice. It’s not uncommon to be rejected from a college, so you should apply to several colleges to increase your chances of acceptance. Having trouble deciding on a college because you can’t get past a rejection? See ways to cope and what to do next.

Then, when you’re ready, read How to Make a Great College Choice.


3. Stay on top of changing admissions requirements

Although they may seem to be written in stone, a college’s admission requirements have the potential to change unexpectedly. Given the current global pandemic, it is a good idea to keep an eye out for these potential changes. Some colleges and universities – including the entire University of California system – will not require SAT/ACT test scores from students applying for the 2021 incoming freshman class.

See an updated list of test-optional schools from FairTest.


4. Add some extracurriculars to your application

Extracurricular activities are a great way to strengthen your application and make you stand out to colleges during the admissions process. Whether it’s sports, clubs, or hobbies, activities that take place outside of the classroom can benefit you and your application greatly.

You might think it’s impossible to add (or even continue) impressive out-of-school activities under quarantine, but think again. Now may be one of the best chances to explore new hobbies and out-of-school activities from the comfort of your own home. Here are 50 extracurriculars you can pursue from home.


5. Learn more about the colleges you’re interested in

Whether you’re making your college choice or just starting your college list, it’s important to research colleges. Search online for information about colleges’ strength, focus, and course offerings in the subjects that interest you. Even highly ranked colleges have some less-than-stellar academic departments.

How do you evaluate a college’s strength in the major you are considering pursuing? Lynn O’Shaughnessy, a nationally recognized college expert, provides some pointers in her blog, The College Solution.

Or, read How to Find Colleges with Strength in Your Major from CollegeData for more tips.


6. Practice self-care

The social distancing and sheltering precautions that are currently in place are testing everyone. Use this time to nurture and take care of yourself. Try out a new hobby you’ve been too busy for, pick up a book, or start a journal. However you decide to practice self-care, make sure it benefits you.

From UNICEF, here are some tips for protecting your mental health.

We also encourage students to stay connected with each other during this difficult time. Reaching out to classmates and friends, even just to say hello, can benefit you and the other person greatly.

And from Harvard University, here are some nutritious foods that can help reduce stress and anxiety.


7. Contribute to your community

Studies have shown that helping others in your community is one of the best ways to cope in a crisis. Reach out to your neighbors, make a donation, or give support to those around you who need it. Youth Service America has some more great ideas for volunteering from home.


8. Make-Your-Own masks

The CDC recommends the use of cloth face masks to slow the spread of the coronavirus. These masks can be made from household items such as a scarf, a bandana, or a towel.

For tips on how to make your own mask, visit JoAnn Fabrics. Or, watch this video from the CDC.


9. Plan a virtual event

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, many schools, business, and events are having to transition to online usage. Most senior-year events have been cancelled or postponed, but students all over the world are finding a way to celebrate the end of high school virtually. Check out this article about students in Japan, who created virtual graduation ceremonies with robots and Minecraft.

Interested in planning your own virtual event? See these tips for planning a virtual prom.


10. Keep up with your classes

Due to the coronavirus, high schools across the globe have been forced to wrap up the school year with online learning. Although not every in-class high school course is a requirement online, many students are required to continue their college-level courses as online classes.

It’s important that you continue to focus on your school work and use your time at home wisely. It is a common misconception that online courses are easier than their in-class counterparts, but that isn’t always true, especially for AP classes. Continue to strive for the best grade and put all your effort into assignments, including daily work and discussion boards! Even if you’ve already been accepted into a college, your high school classes are still important; colleges do have the option to revoke their acceptance to your application.

Visit the 1FBUSA blog for helpful tips on how to excel in online classes.

CollegeData wishes all of you, your families and loved ones good health and safety during the COVID-19 pandemic. For more updates regarding COVID-19, visit the CDC’s COVID-19 website.




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