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College Counseling During Distance Learning

Class of 2019 cap toss

 May 2020 Update


During this unprecedented time of sheltering in place and distance learning, our great hope in the College Counseling Office is that all of you stay safe, healthy, and productive. As always, we are available to meet virtually to support students and families throughout the term. We look forward to counseling seniors through their final college choices as well as supporting juniors in their college search and testing plans.


Common Community Questions

Many of you have already asked questions about distance learning, and any impact it may have on our students’ current or future applications to universities. Questions sent to us include:
  • Will online learning have a negative impact on college applications?
  • Will students be significantly disadvantaged by canceled SAT and ACT dates?
  • Will colleges "trust" the level and rigor of learning online or learning happening outside of a shared schedule?
  • Will time spent on learning be insufficient to meet college requirements?

We posed these questions to trusted colleagues at a variety of colleges and universities and share their answers below. Their responses all share the same sentiment and perspective: the foremost concern of these admission professionals is the safety, health, and well-being of our school communities. Further, admission offices have all emphasized their support for our students and our school leadership to adjust the schedule the way we see fit to meet the educational needs and wellbeing of our community, just as they would do for theirs if they were in our shoes. The effectiveness of distance learning is well studied, and our students’ applications will be evaluated with their transition into this period of learning in mind. Additionally, college officials offered support and flexible approaches for students to manage admissions. They provided assurance that they understand and will note for future applications, the limitations of changing standardized test schedules and time away this spring. 

UC is committed to ensuring that COVID-19-related academic disruptions don’t threaten any students’ ability to strive for and attain a UC education. The University has temporarily suspended some of its requirements for admitted students to ensure that they are able to enroll as planned. It also expects to work with students to adjust financial aid packages if family financial circumstances have changed. In addition, UC has temporarily relaxed some undergraduate admissions policies to ensure high school and transfer students are not penalized by their inability to earn letter grades for academic classes or take standardized tests during the COVID-19 pandemic. The goal of these changes is to ensure a fair process that does not affect the life chances of students who, but for the coronavirus pandemic, would have become full-time students at the University of California. Click here for more information.
We are aware that many schools are modifying their educational models out of precaution and in response to government requests. Claremont McKenna College will work with your school to understand the modifications put in place and will not allow these changes to negatively impact your application in our review process.
Given the extraordinary circumstances, we understand that schools need to be flexible with their teaching and we will certainly not disadvantage any students who need to participate in online learning until schools are able to reopen. As we look to the coming weeks and months, we are preparing to support students who have encountered significant interruptions to their education, especially those who will be enrolling with us this fall. Please rest assured that we will work with students to find solutions to allow all our matriculating students to join us as planned this fall, and support students who feel this disruption has impacted their ability to submit a strong application in the future. We continue to assess the situation and to think critically about how best to support students. 
We recognize that school transcripts will look different for many students this year, and we will work with that! Academic progress, as usual, is currently being disrupted for students across the globe. We encourage students to continue to engage with whatever method of learning your school is able to offer and to do so to the best of your ability. If your school moves to an alternative grading system or method of credit notation (pass/fail, credit/no credit, etc.), we will fully understand why the change has been made and it will not, in any way, be an issue for an admissions office. If a high school closes and does not provide any online or structured replacement educational opportunities, rest assured that we will understand that as well (this is a good opportunity to read something new that piques your interest!).
UBC uses a holistic admissions process that requires applicants to submit personal profiles (essays and extracurricular information). Breaks in extra-curriculars, work, volunteering are to be expected due to the Novel Coronavirus outbreak and will not affect applications to us. In sum, when the student shows up for school and demonstrates engagement in the learning process, distance learning is as suitable as any other mode for meeting college requirements. As always, students should look for creative opportunities that fuel them in these unexpected circumstances to enhance their learning. We look forward to hearing about it!
All universities, including USC, are aware of the difficult challenges schools must deal with in the wake of the coronavirus. It will have absolutely no bearing on a student’s ability to apply and matriculate to universities throughout the United States. We also think there is a lot a student can learn from adapting to challenges. Although it is difficult now, looking back, a student will be able to reflect on how they coped with such a major disruption to their lives and learning. That type of reflection can be helpful as students transition to college – something we think about when we weigh whether a student might be successful at our institution.
Please know that students will not be at a disadvantage in the admission process as a result of school closures and cancellations associated with standardized testing. Students are not responsible for things they cannot control. With most high schools closed for the spring semester, we will need to be flexible when evaluating transcripts and academic course work, and we will continue to monitor the state of standardized testing nationally and abroad. If testing is canceled through the summer and into the fall, we will need to discuss our testing requirements for next year. Our enrollment deposit deadline remains May 1, but we will monitor the situation over the next several weeks to determine if changes to our schedule need to be considered.
While adjusting to distance learning is certainly a challenge, the bottom line is that there will be no negative impact on their college applications. Our whole-person, contextual review process always includes the consideration of extenuating circumstances, whether individual or wide-spread. Although distance-learning is new for schools, our admissions committee considers and admits students from all types of curricular backgrounds, and no curriculum is ever advantaged or disadvantaged. Of course, we understand that testing cancellations will be a challenge, and we will certainly be mindful of this reality in application review.



During this time of distance learning, we are available to meet virtually Monday-Friday from 9:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. You can schedule meetings via the GoogleMeet calendar links below, or feel free to email us to find a time that works best for you.


Calendar link
Calendar link