• Dr. Thom

Couch Surfing College Search: What Happens in the Fall

Photo by Zoey Tian on Unsplash

这一周我花了一整天的时间确信这是错误的一天. I mean, what really marks the days in a quarantined life? Each day feels like a working Saturday, where neighbors are out walking dogs while on conference calls, talking to the air while they pick up doggie doo. Tuesday? Wednesday? Sure.

对我来说,不变的本质与现在高等教育的现状形成了鲜明对比, where the ground has shifted, perhaps permanently. In his novel The Perks of Being a Wallflower, 斯蒂芬·切博斯基观察到变化的持久性,他指出:“生命不会为任何人停止.“我所有的高等教育同事也是如此, 招生机上的单点故障同时崩溃.

从本质上讲,大学招生过程是高度分散的, 每个大学都可以自己决定学生如何申请. This is in contrast to single-point application systems, 例如在医学院住院医师培训中使用的中心匹配过程 British UCAS system. This doesn't mean, however, 美国的招生过程中不存在瓶颈.

We found that out in 2013, when the Common Application 对他们的在线申请平台进行了积极而最终失败的改造. Glitches, inaccessibility, 应用程序提交问题持续了几个月,造成了当时所谓的“application armageddon.“这一挑战导致招生主任匆忙寻找备用申请计划,如 Coalition for College, 这是由少数几所非常挑剔的大学创建的,它们觉得自己被Common App落在了后面.

Now in 2020, 随着COVID-19大流行关闭大学校园,这种模式正在重复, nearly all standardized testing and on-campus recruitment. 标准化考试和校园招聘是如此重要,以至于它们代表着美国招生过程中的单点失败. For years, 大多数大学在有意义的在线招聘上投资严重不足, in lieu of emphasizing on-campus tours and programming. At the same time, 大多数大学依靠标准化考试来帮助他们决定录取和奖学金. Since on-campus programming has all but halted, and the SAT and ACT have cancelled multiple test sittings, alternative plans have been hurriedly made. 与此同时,数千所大学争相制作在线直播招聘节目, 数十所大学暂时修改了标准 2020年招生周期不需要标准化考试成绩. 这是在超过1200所正式拥有 permanently, gone "test optional" according to The National Center for Fair and Open Testing.

These changes, 比如2013年通用应用重新设计的中断带来的问题, are likely to be lasting into the 2020 cycle and beyond, 随着大学继续探索在线招聘,以及 SAT和ACT已经开始着手于家用版本的标准化考试. 2020年秋季,你还应该关注哪些与COVID-19相关的问题?对此你能做些什么?

Closure Decisions

预计在整个6月,关于大学是否开放校园教学和住宿生活的通告将源源不断. 虽然65%的大学表示,他们计划在秋季进行亲自授课, another 21% are still unsure or are waiting to decide. COVID-19缓解措施的区域化可能导致美国不同地区的学生入学现实存在巨大差异. For example, the California State university system, enrolling more than 480,000 students across 23 campuses, 本周宣布,今年秋季课程将几乎完全在线.

This week also pulled some news straight out of the "damned if you do, damned if you don't" bin in 许多考虑在秋季开学的大学私下里都担心新冠肺炎相关的法律责任问题 seeking protection assurances from the U.S. Department of Education. This is on top of ongoing 在校生要求春季学期退款的诉讼 after colleges moved classes online due to the pandemic.

AP Testing Struggles?

This year, 美国大学理事会(College Board)部署了将于本周和下周进行的第一轮在线AP考试. 早期关于首次在线考试的报道表明,一些学生确实这样做了 experienced glitches in submission of the tests. 美国大学理事会坚称只有1%的学生报告了技术问题. For now, 我们鼓励任何在考试中遇到问题的人立即联系大学理事会,并计划在6月份重新参加考试. For all students who have tests coming up, 确保在你指定的考试时间之前浏览大学理事会发送的设置说明, and make sure your internet connection is stable.

Gap Year Uncertainty

有几个值得注意的声音鼓励那些本来打算在秋季入学的学生考虑休学一年, including this 来自宾夕法尼亚大学招生办主任埃里克·弗达的信. 在前面提到的不确定的大学在秋季会做什么, 学生们似乎应该抓住时机去旅行, work, or learn a language. 挑战在于,许多间隔年项目也不得不调整他们的2020秋季项目, due to COVID-19. 由于许多国家暂停了航班限制和非移民签证服务,国外旅行也受到了严重干扰, including the U.S. 但这并不意味着,如果你是大三的学生,并考虑进行间隔年,那么一切都是徒劳, it just means that you should cast a very wide net. Start with the Gap Year Association's list of vetted programs and gap year planning guide.

BUT, here's the best news of all . . .

The answer to the question "What happens in the Fall?" is always: what you decide happens.

Yes, 其他人会对他们的大学做很多决定, about your application, and about the tests you will take. Yes, there are a lot of unknowns. 在重大的和可怕的人生决定中总会有未知——这就是为什么他们会这样. "Life doesn't stop for anybody," yes, that's true. But you can stop for yourself, 在生活中发生的事情和你的反应之间深呼吸和思考一下. Inside that space between stimulus and response is choice, and it lives there no matter how much chaos swirls about.

Yes, 我们不知道秋天会发生什么, 但我们可以决定,我们将继续与我们的家人一起变得更强大、更健康. That is what's happening in the Fall.

Not working with us yet? Feeling stressed by the college search process? Let's chat.

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