It is hard to believe that 2021 is behind us and we are in the middle to end of January, 2022. So, here we are, barely looking back on 2021 and now looking forward to 2022 with hopes of a waning epidemic.
The big question is, are we living with COVID and how are we doing this? I suppose we aren’t totally sure quite yet. At this point, hybrid learning is in our blood and sometimes in our best interest. Masks are a part of our everyday life-don’t leave home without one, we won’t get far without one. I don’t know about anyone else, but I have masks tucked everywhere from a few in my car, a few tucked in jackets and sweaters, in my purse, backpack, etc. I fear being caught without one.
For me personally, my life is not much different than everyone else. I don’t visit family members as often. Sadly for me, I miss my children and their hugs despite the fact that they are grown, professionals and have lives with their own families.It is a loss. No doubt, there is a loss for you as well-you probably haven’t seen your relatives as much as normal either. I run my business virtually which has saved me on wear and tear on my car, flights and hotels to conferences and visits to schools. However, I am in contact with schools via virtual tours and special online ‘meet and greets’.
As far as the future and past are concerned for university, things have changed dramatically since COVID. We all know that many schools including the high profile universities have become test optional. It has made applying to university far more competitive and maybe it has leveled the playing field a bit. Meaning for those who don’t test well but have stellar grades and amazing resumes, you now have a fair chance to apply to some of these amazing universities that once required high test scores. What this also means is that competitive schools applications skyrocketed and this will no doubt happen again:
Colgate-up 104% increase
You get the idea. Along with these staggering percentages, schools admit rates have dropped. New statistics will be coming along.
Other changes we as consultants have seen is that there has been an upward trend in Early Decision, Early Action applications. It will be important to students to show their interest in universities and many universities have an interest tracker on their websites. While some campuses remain closed for visits, virtual visits are possible and starting with the school’s website is helpful. There are numerous online virtual campus visit platforms.
A big change students and families will see is health. Campuses have launched vaccine mandates on their campuses so students, professors, support staff and administrators can be as healthy of a campus as possible. Masks required. In addition, this year, everyone has had to remain as flexible as possible regarding online and in person learning depending on COVID outbreaks. Yes, we have had to ‘pivot’ and remain flexible thinkers-both signs of intelligence in my view.
For those looking at boarding schools, summer programs the above can be repeated. It is safety first, some schools have dropped SSAT/ISEE requirements, some have not. For international students, those testing requirements are challenging. My advice to international students, if you can’t take a test virtually and there is no way to take the above test, then the school is out of the question.
Summer programs are back in bloom, thankfully. But, again, it will always be safety first. Will it be beneficial to see what can be done closer to home first rather than a massive trip across the world? I don’t know. I had one student last summer travel from her home in DC to Spain. No worries, but that was at a time when the Delta virus was waning and Omicron was unheard of.
Do I long for normalcy? Like everyone else, yes. Do I long for balance- the regular school day, after school activities, sports, etc.? Like everyone else, yes. Do I long for civility? Like everyone else, yes. In the meantime, this is what we have at hand.