What Colleges Care About in This Time of Crisis

by | Nov 3, 2020

From 200 College Admissions Deans (including Harvard, MIT, Cornell, Dartmouth, Columbia, and many others)

This year, 200 colleges issued a statement to explain how they will adapt to the circumstances when they evaluate applicants during this time of COVID-19. This is what they will value, and what they won’t:

  1. Self-care

Self-care is of high importance, especially in times of crisis. Colleges recognize that many students, economically struggling and facing losses and hardships of countless kinds, are simply seeking to get by. They also recognize that this time is stressful and demanding for a wide range of students for many different reasons.

  1. Academic work

Academic engagement and work during this time matter to colleges, but given the circumstances of many families, they recognize that students may face obstacles to academic work. In addition, they will assess students’ academic achievements mainly based on their academic performance before and after the pandemic. No student will be disadvantaged because of a change in commitments or a change in plans because of this outbreak, the absence of AP or IB tests, their lack of access to standardized tests, or their inability to visit campus. they will also view students in the context of the curriculum, academic resources, and supports available to them.

3. Service and contributions to others

They value contributions to one’s communities for those who are in a position to provide these contributions. They recognize that while many students are not in this position because of stresses and demands, other students are looking for opportunities to be engaged and make a difference.

Colleges also value forms of contribution that are unrelated to this pandemic, such as working to register voters, protect the environment, combat racial injustice and inequities, or stop online harassment among peers.

4. Family contributions

Far too often there is a misperception that high-profile, brief forms of service tend to “count” in admissions while family contributions—which are often deeper and more time-consuming and demanding—do not. Many students may be supervising younger siblings, for example, or caring for sick relatives, or working to provide family income, and colleges recognize that these responsibilities may have increased during these times. They view substantial family contributions as very important, and they encourage students to report them in their applications. It will only positively impact the review of their application.

5. Extracurricular and summer activities:

No student will be disadvantaged for not engaging in extracurricular activities. Colleges have always considered work or family responsibilities as valuable ways of spending one’s time, and this is especially true at this time.


Questions? Let’s chat!

Bettina Weil

Weil College ADvising, LLC



Weil College Advising

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