As part of the Fall 2020 Competitive College Admissions in the Age of COVID-19 webinar series, EXPLO hosted admission professionals from Colorado College, Harvard University, Minerva, and Washington University in St. Louis to share insights and advice for students applying to college during the COVID-19 pandemic. The panel fielded questions from families on topics including standardized testing, the impact of 2020 deferred enrollments on 2021 acceptance rates, financial aid, and more. 

A prevailing theme throughout the panel was “context”. As students are completing their applications and essays for the current COVID admission cycle, admission teams across the U.S. are looking to students to provide context that will help them consider the application holistically and understand each applicant in the current context of where they are — including disruptions (or opportunities) that came into play during the pandemic.

The free series ran throughout the month of October so that students and families could hear directly from admission professionals who have been responding and recalibrating their playbooks throughout the spring, summer, and early fall. The series launched with Dr. Lindsay Cohen of Spark Admissions, who demystified the admission process and provided tips for putting your best application forward.

A second event featured a panel of experts from Bowdoin College, Cornell University, Pomona College, and University of Michigan, offering insight on applying to college during COVID, including how students should engage with colleges and universities before applying and how they can get to know a school in a virtual setting to the value of interviews, whether or not to submit standardized test scores, if demonstrated interest matters, and changes to entering class sizes due to deferrals and physical space constraints in the COVID world.