The #1 College Admissions Requirement During COVID-19

Attention all high school students who aspire to attend college! Yes, all colleges throughout the U.S. are open during this pandemic and want YOU to apply to their college!

I am speaking directly to students and their parents, grades 8–12, ranging in age from 13- 18 years. I am well aware that attending school throughout COVID has been a challenge. Clearly, that is an understatement.

We all know that COVID has disrupted the once normal, daily routine of going to school. Pre-COVID, many kids dreaded getting up each and every day in the early morning hours to get on a bus, walk, or carpool to school to experience the sheer boredom of sitting in an AP Chemistry class at 7am every single day, still rubbing crusty, bleary, sleep deprived eyes. Ah, those were the days.

5 years ago, my son was that exhausted, sleep deprived, overwhelmed, over-achieving high school junior who walked to that AP Chem class as the sun was just starting to rise. He hated me, yes me, for making him take that class. As I told him then, ‘it’s not a personality contest’, and I was ok with him hating me.

As a parent, I was more concerned about him achieving his personal best, which I knew was integral to his overall emotional well-being.

I will confess, I made him take that AP Chemistry class. I also made him take a total of 8 AP courses, not including advanced classes that were not AP. I made him take the hardest high school classes his school could throw at him. I even made him take AP Calculus. Man, did he hate me for that.

Why did I make him take all those ridiculously hard classes? #FUNFACT: I knew that all Deans of Undergraduate Admissions at top colleges in the U.S. want transcripts loaded with honors, advanced, AP, IB classes, that reflect perfect to near perfect grades.

I knew that the Dean would not even consider him as a legitimate, qualified applicant if he did not take the hardest classes his school offered. How did I know this? Because I learned this when my other, older son was in middle school.

I have been playing the Admissions Game as a parent for many years. My most prized possessions, my sons, were the players, and they won the game. They earned their acceptance to Duke University as a result of years and years of hard work and sacrifice. Really.

You see, the Dean at a top college will not even consider an applicant for admission if they did not take the hardest classes their respective high school offered and received high grades.

The one constant throughout COVID, is that the Dean of Undergraduate Admissions continues to measure a high school student’s academic performance based on the classes they take and the grades they receive. Period, end of discussion. It does not matter whether a student attends school virtually or in-person.

Remember, many colleges during COVID at standardized test optional, which may continue for next year’s admissions class 2021–2022.

WISEWORDS: Classes and grades still matters, perhaps now more than ever to the Dean and will be the only measure of future academic success.

For additional insight on the college admissions process, please check out my book on Amazon!



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A Forward Thinker. Humorist. Realist. Author of The Admissions Game, Application Cycle 2020–2021. A Very Former, Assistant District Attorney.