College deans meet to discuss ways to help prospective students applying amid pandemic

College deans meet to discuss ways to help prospective students applying amid pandemic

BOSTON — Many colleges are working together to make sure students know what they are looking for as they apply for admission during the pandemic. The universities, including Harvard, MIT, BU and Northeastern here in Massachusetts, are backing the information in a letter.

Campus Bound President Gregg Cohen said they have been working with students and their families with these challenges, from no SATs and ACTs to limited opportunities.

"One of the big fears people have is that their grades are incomplete and they feel like they are going to be penalized because they are pass/fail for the second half of the year," Cohen said.

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Hundreds of college admissions deans came together to make it clear to potential students what exactly they are looking for. Many applicants are dealing with personal hardships and scaled back courses because of remote learning and other lost opportunities that would help set them apart in the competitive college application.

"They know the students and families are under tremendous pressure," Cohen said. "Economically, maybe lost a job. These are real things colleges are very aware of existing in the home, no matter what your socioeconomic status is."

Students are also missing out on college campus visits. That can help a student decide where to apply and could become a factor in their final decision.

“Is it too far from home, is the campus the right size? Understanding the college you are talking about and what they have to offer,” Cohen explained.

The letter from colleges recommended students focus on their essays, showcasing their high school courses, having strong references and to sell their attributes like being persistent, creative and a team player.

“[Colleges] are going to be very understanding of what you can and can’t do,” Cohen said.

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