High School Juniors and Seniors - How to prepare for college in a Covid world
So, we're in a CRAZY time right now. Of course, we want to stay safe, but for juniors and seniors in high school, how do you prepare for college during such a crazy time? Some high schools are fully virtual, some high schools are hybrid, and some high schools (like the Chicago Catholic school system) are fully in-person, at the time of this writing. And when applying to college, many universities are allowing students to be test optional this year for the SAT and ACT. So with all these changing factors, what should you do?
For high school seniors, should you still take the ACT and SAT and submit as part of your college applications? One way to decide is to review what are several of your favorite schools (like what's your top 5?) that you think you'd have a realistic chance to get into. Check their websites... do one or more of them still require the ACT or SAT? If so, make sure you're still preparing for the test. Assuming none of them are requiring the ACT and SAT, they likely are still "test optional," which means they'll review your score(s) if you want the score(s) to be considered. So if it seems a possibility that you still may submit your ACT or SAT score, then you should still try to prepare for it as best as you can, whether through your high school's test prep service (if they offer one), or using a free online service like Khan Academy. If you need more individualized or small group attention, or need more structure to your review, then a test prep service like Tiger Tutor, can also be helpful.
Since review of ACT and SAT testing is becoming optional this year due to the pandemic, colleges will likely rely on two other areas more to consider you for acceptance: your high school GPA and your essays! Make sure to stay active in your senior year classes, and carve out time each week to prepare for writing your essays. You can also consider working with Tiger Tutor to have a qualified tutor help you with a difficult class at school, or even help proofread your essays.
For high school juniors, since most leisure travel is down significantly, consider buying (or borrowing from your school counselor) a book like the Fiske Guide to Colleges, which costs less than $10 when I last checked Amazon. The Fiske Guide contains information on over 320 4-year colleges and universities, and the book can give you an idea about the feel of campus.
Normally as a junior, you will take the PSAT, which will prep you for the SAT that you'd normally take in the fall of your senior year. The PSAT can also give the highest achievers in each state merit recognition (such as "National Merit Finalist," "Semi-Finalist" and "Commended"), which could lead to college scholarships in the future. Again, our tutors at Tiger Tutor are happy to work with you on your test prep for the PSAT.