College admissions prep during the Coronavirus

March 18, 2020

Schools may be closed and standardized SAT and ACT tests may be postponed as entire communities attempt to slow the spread of Covid-19, but that doesn’t mean your college plans need to stop.

Most universities are not anticipating any change to how applications will be evaluated this coming admissions season. According to Princeton University, “every application will receive our full consideration.”

So here are 5 ways you can still get yourself prepared for college applications as a rising senior.

  1. Take advantage of the extra test prep.

    The most obvious positive outcome to these postponed standardized tests is the extra preparation time you’ll have to hit your target score. If you were registered for but didn’t actually feel ready for the March SAT test date, you’ll have a couple extra months to work up to your desired score. If you didn’t already take a full practice test on the originally scheduled date, pick an upcoming Saturday and treat it as if it were the actual exam day. Carve out the 3 hours to sit through an entire exam. Mimic test settings as much as you can. The act of taking a test from home will be useful practice as well in case the College Board announces that AP exams this year will be take-home.
  2. Check out additional online courses.

    If your classes have moved online, take this opportunity to see if you’re interested enough in the virtual learning experience to check out other types of online courses. There are tons of online classes you can take to supplement your curriculum or your skill set. Whether it’s basic programming skills or upping your foreign language proficiency, there isn’t a better time than now to dabble in remote learning. Check out Udemy or Teachable for self-guided learning.
  3. Get remote volunteer or work experience.

    Aside from banned in-person gatherings, many companies and organizations can use the extra help now. Consider offering your services as an unpaid intern or a volunteer. Look for remote opportunities that allow you to have a real impact with existing skills, from crafting social media posts for a local business to putting together a newsletter for a nursing home. Also consider online tutoring if you really excel in a particular school subject. These can all be great ways to supplement your extracurricular resume with real world experience all while adhering to social distancing expectations.
  4. Go on a virtual campus tour.

    Many college campuses and admission offices, such as Princeton and Stanford, have canceled school-wide programming, including campus tours and information sessions. For most students, an in-person campus visit is not possible. Virtual campus tours can also cost money or seem like a subpar option compared to an in-person visit. However, with no other alternative, a virtual campus tour is now your best bet to get familiarized with the physical properties of a school. Take advantage of as many online resources as an admissions office offers. If you’re on a Premium AdmitSee plan, you can also chat with our college users to learn more about a school.
  5. Start brainstorming your essay topics.

    While you can definitely wait to write your personal statement over the summer, it’s never too early to start coming up with personal themes. Whether it’s an indelible childhood memory or an important recent turning point in your life, consider what events or relationships in your life make you who you are today. Make a short list of the things that come to mind. Then, if a detail about one particular item surfaces, add it to your list. Before you know it, you’ll have a handful of rough outlines for the major essay topics to elaborate on this summer.

    Check back for our upcoming blog post about how to tackle the 2020-2021 essay prompts (unchanged from last year) as well as potential application deadline extensions.



Don’t stress too much about college and testing stuff. There are tons of resources available to you. Focus on staying healthy, maintaining that social distance, and making the most of the rest of your school year with friends in the ways that you can.

Comment below to let us know if you have any other unexpected ways you can utilize the current circumstances to prep for college. Good luck, and stay healthy!

About The Author

Stephanie Shyu
Stephanie Shyu

Steph is our founder and the most prolific consumer of Easy Mac™® within a 3-mile radius of our office. She attended Duke where she was a Div 1 fencer, then picked up a J.D. and a Wharton Certificate focusing on Entrepreneurial Studies from UPenn plus an LL.M. from the University of Hong Kong. She founded a charity to increase education access for female students in rural China and was once an aspiring journalist (as is clearly evident from this artfully crafted author bio). Named to Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list, she gives interviews and talks about startups, education, and student mental health – email her at

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