Coronavirus (COVID-19) – The latest news impacting our college-bound kids

These are strange times to be sure! We wanted to have a place where we can share the latest news related to changes in the high school/college landscape.

The situation is fluid. Students are thinking about exams–ACT/SAT/AP. Seniors are thinking about college acceptances. Plus, a whole lot more! We’ll use this blog post to include frequent updates as we learn of them.

Keep scrolling to read about how At The Core is adjusting to serve our families best in these times of social distancing.

The latest news/Q&A (UPDATED 6/5/2020)…

Will application deadlines change this fall?

Possibly. On 6/4/20, the University of Virginia announced they would be “test optional” for fall applicants, and they would be pushing back their Early Decision deadline to November 1st. It usually is on October 15. We’ll need to keep an eye on additional deadline changes as colleges attempt to give students more time.

Do you know if ACT/SAT testing will go on during this time?

On 5/28/20, ACT published the list of test centers that would be closed for the June 13 test date. Those students registered for that date were emailed on 5/29 about their options which include rescheduling for July or waiting for the fall. Students need to request a refund for the June exam. Click for more details.

On 4/15/20, the College Board announced the cancellation of the June 6 SAT exam and Subject Test sittings. Monthly exam dates will begin in August, and exams will be offered in September, October, November, & December. Registration for August, September, and October exam sittings will open May 28. Students registered for June exam and Class of 2021 students who have never taken the SAT will get early access to fall registration. On 6/2/20, SAT announced they would NOT be offering an online option in the fall as they originally hoped to do. The May 2 SAT had already been cancelled back in March.

On 4/16/20, ACT announced the addition of two makeup dates–one in June and one in July. These dates will be in addition to their currently scheduled test dates on June 13 and July 18. ACT is also discussing an online option that they are calling “remote proctoring.”

“Dr. Sam” (Srinath Sampath of PrepAccelerator) had a good share about test prep during this time: “Students, please make the most of the downtime and reduced school hours to push hard on the ACT and SAT. When school reopens, there will be a sense of urgency for educators, parents, and students to catch up with school work, so focused prep during the next few weeks will go a long way in reducing stress thereafter.”

Brian Stewart of BWS Education Consulting also shared his thoughts on our current testing environment.

Is there somewhere that I can find at-a-glance info about colleges and whether or not they have extended deadlines, admitted student events, AP/IB decisions regarding credit, testing requirements for fall applications, etc.?

NACAC, the National Association for College Admission Counseling, is providing a searchable spreadsheet with about 1,038 colleges on it (54 in Ohio) as of 6/5/20.

Will the Common App in the fall include any changes because of COVID-19?

On 5/12/20, the Common App announced they would be adding an optional question to the application as a result of COVID-19. This question is truly optional and only meant to provide a forum for students who have had to overcome hardships due to the virus interruption. The question will read:

Community disruptions such as COVID-19 and natural disasters can have deep and long-lasting impacts. If you need it, this space is yours to describe those impacts. Colleges care about the effects on your health and well-being, safety, family circumstances, future plans, and education, including access to reliable technology and quiet study spaces. Do you wish to share anything on this topic? Y/N. Please use this space to describe how these events have impacted you.

The answer’s length will be limited to 250 words. This question will be in the Additional Information section where students are invited to share more about themselves.

Counselors will also have a question in their counselor forms to tell Common App about how COVID-19 affected their school–ex. grading policies, testing changes, graduation requirements, etc.

Can students still apply to colleges?

Yes! On 5/5/20, NACAC released their list of colleges who are still accepting freshmen and/or transfer applications for this fall. Students who want to change their minds about going far away and want to stay closer to home can still apply.

Will college campuses be opening in the fall?

Our favorite list of college plans for the fall is posted by The Chronicle of Higher Education. They are keeping a searchable list on this page. You can also scroll from page to page by clicking their “page 1 of 7” link on the right-hand side.

How are colleges handling gap year requests?

This answer, as with so many others, is it depends on the school. All colleges are worried about high numbers of gap year requests called deferrals. Will too many deferrals cause too much of a funding gap? Will deferrals put too much of a squeeze on fall 2021 openings?

We found that Wesleyan University had a fairly typical approach among those colleges that have actually defined their policy. (Some are still playing wait and see.)

Their policy is: If fall term on campus is closed, students may choose to defer until spring (granted automatically) or fall 2021 (by request). You’ll note fall 2021 is not automatic. Students who don’t wait until the college’s official decision about fall plans have a specific deadline (July 10) to request a gap year, and Wesleyan will have until July 17 to approve or not. (Other schools have earlier deadlines.)

They go on to say: The request to defer must include the student’s specific plans as well as an acknowledgement that they will not enroll full time at another institution during the deferment. (Indiana U does not allow more than 11 credit hours during the deferment period. Their business program is not allowing deferments at all so more popular programs will be harder or impossible to get a deferment from.)

Wesleyan also included this: “While we will aim to accommodate as many requests as possible, out of consideration for current high school juniors, we may need to limit the number of gap year requests that are approved.”

Parents need to consider what the gap year would look like. Will students be able to find a job in a time of high unemployment? Will students be able to participate in those organized travel experiences if travel is restricted? Will students lose a bit due to brain drain between leaving high school and entering college? Lots to think about!

Ohio K-12 schools will remain closed for the rest of the school year.

On 4/20/20, Gov. DeWine announced that Ohio’s K-12 schools will remain closed for the rest of the year.

How will pass/fail grades be considered by the NCAA in D1 and D2 sports eligibility?

On 4/17/20, the NCAA issued some changes to D1 & D2 eligibility rules impacted by COVID-19. Usually a “pass” grade (instead of a letter) would be ranked as a “D” potentially hampering the GPA. Now they are trying not to penalize anyone. Here is their statement:

“For courses completed in spring and summer 2020 with a “pass” grade, the Eligibility Center will apply the credit earned in those courses toward the core-course requirement. If the core GPA would increase by assigning a value of 2.3 (the minimum GPA to qualify to compete in Division I), that value will be assigned to passed courses. If the 2.3 mark would decrease the student’s overall GPA, the core-course GPA will be calculated based only on courses with assigned letter grades from other available terms. This policy will apply to students from all grade levels who have pass/fail grades in NCAA-approved core courses in spring and summer 2020 due to the COVID-19 response.”

What about SAT Subject Tests scheduled for May 2 and June 6?

SAT Subject Tests previously scheduled for May 2 and June 6 have been cancelled.

How will graduation requirements for the class of 2020 be impacted?

The Ohio Department of Education has clarified the graduation requirements for the Class of 2020. Governor DeWine and the Ohio General Assembly have given flexibility to schools and districts to award diplomas to students who have successfully completed the curriculum requirements while forgoing all other additional requirements. You can read the complete guidance here.

How has AP testing been impacted?

On 4/3/20, the College Board shared tons of information about the upcoming online testing format:

The College Board said: “We’re confident that the vast majority of higher ed institutions will award college credit as they have in the past. We’ve spoken with hundreds of institutions across the country that support our solution for this year’s AP Exams.” At this point, we don’t know how the colleges will treat AP for credit this year.

How has Ohio’s College Credit Plus program been impacted?

On 3/27/20, the Ohio Department of Education announced guidance for colleges and schools about College Credit Plus for the upcoming 2020/21 school year. The Letter of Intent due date which is normally April 1st has been extended to May 1st. The funding application for nonpublic and homeschooled students has also been extended to May 1st.

The guidance document also contains details about what happens if a student couldn’t take the ACT or SAT test for qualification into the program for this summer because of test cancellations. (A student needs a 3.0 GPA. Colleges can still use their institutional standards for admission decisions and placement into courses.)

Currently enrolled CCP students (spring 2020) can choose a Pass/Fail grade on a course if the college they are attending offers that option. (Choosing a P/F option has implications on weighted grading, class rank, NCAA & OHSAA eligibility, and certain graduation seals.)

If you missed Beth Probst’s free informational webinar about College Credit Plus on 3/23, you can watch it by clicking here.

What changes has the Ohio legislature instituted for this year?

On 3/25/20, the Ohio legislature passed a sweeping education bill to address needed changes this year. Annual testing is cancelled. Students on track to graduate as of 3/17 will graduate (see additional details regarding graduation above). Schools are allowed to substitute online learning for in-class time. It allows IEPs to be serviced online, and it allows for waivers to College Credit Plus requirements (see comment re: CCP above). (We don’t know how graduation requirements needing a specific end-of-year exam like Algebra will be adjusted if that exam wasn’t given.)

What about IB testing?

On 3/23/20, the International Baccalaureate cancelled the IB exams originally schedule for May 2020. “Depending on what they registered for, the student will be awarded a Diploma or a Course Certificate which reflects their standard of work. This is based on student’s coursework and the established assessment expertise, rigor and quality control already built into the programmes.” More detail can be found here.

Have you seen any great messages from college counselors with support for current juniors?

Yes! Without a doubt, all the admission folks are understanding and amazing. On 3/19/20, this letter attributed to the University of Chicago’s Dean of Admission and Financial aid demonstrated the messaging to all current juniors–a great read for your current junior if they are worried.

Will summer camps be affected this year?

Delaware Area Career Center, Tolles Career & Technical Education, and Great Oaks Career Campuses have all cancelled their summer camp programming. We’ll keep an eye on future closings as best we can. We’ll update our Summer Opportunities page as needed; however, due to the sheer number of camps listed, we ask that you check with the camp directly if in doubt.

Will colleges change their grading this semester?

On 3/19/20, we read this piece. Some colleges are switching to pass/fail grading instead of letter grades this semester to ease the tension some students may be feeling about online coursework. It is not clear what will happen to things dependent on GPA like scholarships, transfers, and grad school applications. Some colleges are giving students the choice between standard grades (A, B, C, etc.) and pass/fail grading. We are awaiting for guidance from the school districts themselves as to what is best for our students.

Will colleges change their application requirements for fall 2020 after the ACT/SAT tests were cancelled?

On 3/18/20, Case Western announced they would allow fall applicants to apply without providing ACT/SAT test scores. This test optional policy is for Fall 2020. is maintaining a list of colleges who do not require test scores to be submitted this fall. Be aware that the majority of merit based scholarships require a test score in addition to a GPA.

Will college graduations take place on schedule?

On 3/17/20, Ohio State announced they will be postponing their commencement ceremony that was to be May 3. Most universities are also postponing their commencements or changing their format from the usual ceremony.

I have a senior making their final college decision. What do I do if they can’t visit campus? Do you think the May 1st deadline will change?

First, we are putting together a blog for current seniors with action items and ideas to help you. We’ll link it here. In the meantime, pay attention to the communications from colleges you’ve been accepted to–many are planning online outreach of some sort for those “admitted student events.” You’ll be able to get lots of your specific questions answered. Try fleshing out a list of last minute questions so you are prepared and know what last minute info you need. This article from Forbes (3/17/2020) has excellent information.

Second, regarding that May 1st deadline, some colleges (led by Oregon State) have postponed their freshman decision deadline to June 1st. Watch your email closely for communication from the colleges awaiting your reply. Ideally/hopefully, most will follow Oregon State’s lead. Some of the best minds in college admissions, like those at Oregon State, are lobbying on behalf of our children. Here is a list we found of colleges with new deposit dates. Note they have an “updated as of” date on it.

I have a junior or sophomore, and we were planning on visiting colleges over spring break. What do we do now?

Many (though not all) colleges have postponed official college visits/tours. The Forbes article referenced above will include ideas for how to visit a college virtually.

If you’d like to be receiving information about online events, be sure the college has your child’s email address. Visit the college’s website and look for a place to get on their mailing list or request more information.

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Remember at this time, you can always contact us with your questions via email, website chat, Facebook Messenger, or by phone (614) 404-0646. We will reply as soon as we can.

How Coronavirus is impacting At The Core…

As concerns about the spread of Coronavirus increase, At The Core wants to let you know our team is prepared and can provide uninterrupted support during this time.

At The Core is carrying on normal business operations, and the team has the resources and tools they need to do their work from any location.

Our services including Guided Self Assessment, Private Consultations, and even educational programming can be done (and has been for years) through online platforms. In these times of social distancing, we are weighing each and every interaction carefully.

But no matter how the interaction takes place, the needs for our teens and their families have not changed. Please know we’re here to help.

We’re equipped to operate fully online, and we are standing shoulder to shoulder with other parents in these unusual times.

We will continue to keep families updated should program dates or their format change.

Remember, you can reach out to us at any time with your questions.

Thank you everyone. Please stay safe. We are thinking about all of you during these times.


CDC Website and Ohio Department of Health