Transcript Gaps? A Strong College Application Remains Possible

Applying to school sometimes comes with some uncertainty, however this 12 months’s candidates are tackling one further query: What must you do when a pandemic has restricted what goes into your faculty functions?

Many extracurriculars, together with sports activities and golf equipment, couldn’t go on through the pandemic. And many faculty districts throughout the nation, recognizing the challenges the pandemic has posed, provided the choice for college kids to not obtain letter grades for lessons they took.

That alternative has left some college students with “pass” or “credit,” or “fail” or “no credit,” moderately than precise grades on their transcripts.

College admissions officers have been prepared for these modifications since earlier than the present admissions cycle started, says David Hawkins, chief training and coverage officer on the National Association for College Admission Counseling.

“Admissions officers clearly understand the challenges that these students have faced because they had the experiences themselves,” Hawkins says. “They were locked down just as the students were.”

So what are schools in search of now?

As functions have modified, so has what admissions officers are in search of.

A transcript crammed with “pass” or “credit” grades gained’t be counted towards you, admissions officers say. What will likely be thought of are the letter grades which might be in your transcript, together with the lessons you’ve taken, says Steve Robinson, senior affiliate vp for enrollment administration on the University of Utah.

“I think a lot of schools are looking at the academic rigor of what a student attempted,” says Robinson. “In a rural high school, maybe there aren’t as many [Advanced Placement] opportunities, or none, but what I can tell is that the student took everything possible that the high school offered academically — they really tried, even if they [have pass grades].”

As grading has modified, so have testing necessities. Even earlier than the pandemic, schools started to make submitting standardized take a look at scores, resembling from the ACT and SAT, elective. The observe unfold to extra colleges because of the difficulties the pandemic has posed.

Extracurriculars additionally don’t look the identical as they did pre-pandemic. Hawkins says that in some instances, how college students spent their free time through the pandemic is taking the place of the extracurricular part of an software, at the least within the eyes of admissions officers.

Some functions, together with the Common App — a standardized faculty software accepted at roughly 900 colleges — can supply area to jot down about your expertise through the pandemic, resembling hardships you confronted or a brand new ability you discovered.

“The other thing that I’ve heard from admissions officers is that they’ve been pleasantly surprised, and in some cases, amazed at what students continued to do even while in lockdown,” Hawkins says.

Your greatest software performs to your strengths

With the choice to finish sure essays or submit take a look at scores, a robust software is one which greatest exhibits what you’ve achieved.

If you took the ACT or SAT and obtained a rating that’ll assist bolster your software, ship it to the school you’re making use of to. But in the event you didn’t get a rating you wish to embrace together with your software, don’t embrace it, says Christine Harper, affiliate vp for pupil success and chief enrollment officer on the University of Kentucky.

“We will use what benefits the student the most,” Harper says. With some portion of functions now elective, college students ought to look again at the whole lot they’ve carried out and current the perfect model of themselves to a school, Harper provides.

Overall, the pandemic has pressured faculty admissions officers to reevaluate their expectations of scholars, significantly since highschool college students had differing entry to their normal actions, says Keri Risic, interim govt director of admissions on the University of Minnesota.

Any modifications to these actions aren’t seen as a damaging, Risic provides. If you might have one thing to share in your software that gives perspective on the way you skilled the pandemic, admissions officers wish to know that.

Ultimately, whereas there are changes college students could make to face out within the software pool, the overwhelming message admissions officers have for potential college students is to fret much less.

“Students should rest easy in a way because colleges completely understand the position they’re in,” Hawkins says. “Give yourself some grace.”

This article was written by NerdWallet and was initially printed by The Associated Press.