Greetings Students and Families — Especially our Graduating Seniors ’20,

A heartfelt congratulations to students with so many wonderful acceptances!  Making the decision in these difficult times is likely to be even more difficult than in previous years.   Please see my resource a few weeks ago — Click


Today I want to address some questions that are likely on your mind –

The practical implications of the Coronavirus on your College Admissions Plan.

Since I wrote an initial note about how to address your Educational and College Admissions goals during the COVID pandemic, I began a multi-part series.  Your  college admissions goals haven’t changed, but your college admissions plan will most certainly need adjustments.  Please find updates and actionable items. I’m  not new to remote college counseling.  In fact,  I’ve been serving my college application clients throughout the US through virtual platforms for years.  I’m ready to answer all your questions about College Admissions, College Applications and College Essays in these uncertain times

Today, I continue my   series providing concrete information with actionable items and provide an informed discussion about anticipated changes in the College Admissions arena.   IMPLICATIONS FOR SENIORS!

Part 1-  AP Exams -What are the  IMPLICATIONS of the changed AP exam format for College Admissions and Undergraduate Study?

Part II-  College Admissions – Undergraduate and Graduate School—GPA, Pass/Fail and Incomplete Policies—How to Adapt? Learning is key!

Part III – College Admissions-  Extracurriculars Activities during a Pandemic

Part IV – College Essays and the Common App – Should you share your COVID experiences?


This blog offers some  important points and data especially for our graduating seniors.  As a long-time subscriber to the Chronicle of Higher Education,  last week I attended a zoom session on College Admissions in the Coronavirus setting.  The open discussion was led by a half a dozen college admissions officers and enrollment specialists.  The session yielded some interesting information with actionable items for our graduating seniors ’20 and some speculation for our juniors ‘21 gearing up for the next session of college admissions.  In no particular order,  here’s what we know and what you can do at this time.


ENROLLMENT DEPOSITS during COVID-19– What’s Changed?

Given the uncertainty of our public health crisis,  most colleges appreciate that many families may not yet be able to make an enrollment decision by the traditional date of May 1. Whether it be a desire to keep students close to home or concerns over parents’ employment, colleges know that May 1 is simply too soon. Many universities have already extended the enrollment deposit date.  Admissions panelists urged families who are unable to render a decision by May 1 to contact college admissions officers to request an extension to leave your enrollment deposit later in  June.  I concur and would highly recommend waiting things out – especially if you are unable to finalize any financial aid appeal that is underway.  In the past, my clients routinely ask for extensions and these are granted for a variety of reasons.  Again, as noted previously, DO NOT double deposit.

Unable to attend a campus, I noted the importance of reaching out to faculty and students.  One such pathway are social media groups and phone lines established for high school students to directly engage with currently enrolled students.

I can connect families with currently enrolled undergraduates at these universities my former clients attend or with recent graduates.

College Advisor Bonnie Rabin, PhD reviewing College Acceptances

College Admissions WAITLISTS — Changes Expected during the Coronavirus Uncertainty

Historically, I advise my clients to expect they will not be offered a spot off a waitlist.   College admissions staff run their numbers on yields – and for the most part – they get it right. The waitlist is created to hedge a bet that they’ve missed their enrollment yields. In the past, I seen very few students land a spot -and when they do it’s not before June and sometimes even in July (NYU!).  The panelists felt that the waitlist situation will see significantly more movement.  international students will  likely be barred entry and families will begin to make other choices keeping students close to home or taking a gap year.  Waitlist spots will increase. So, please put your name on the waitlist.

I am available to assist students with writing their continued interest notes which can be invaluable to receiving a positive response.

Taking a GAP YEAR — Takes on new relevance during Coronavirus Uncertainty

Very few students take advantage of what should be seen more positively.  I’m often stunned by the  fears parents and students express about taking time off in a non-traditional educational venture. As I write about every year during May- the data speak volumes.  A productive and meaningful gap year experience is an awesome opportunity and students taking advantage of this path in fact out-perform their peers academically and in the internship/job market.  The panelists all agreed they expect to see many requests for a gap year as families are uncertain about whether to send students across the country.  The traditional model is that students place their enrollment deposit and then initiate a gap year application which is subject to approval and must include a plan.  The panelists felt that colleges will be overwhelmed with such requests, some as late as June or July as the uncertainty over our situation as a nation is indeed very real.   Colleges have budgets to meet, classes to fill and dorms to staff.  Even if social distancing is relaxed by fall, the uncertainty over the virus is very real and so if you want to hedge your bet—put in a request for a gap year. You can always retract your request in July.

Boulder CO and South Florida College Consultant Bonnie Rabin, PhD College Admissions Decision Making

INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS — They will be less likely and face more challenges to secure a student visa– What’s the implication for US citizens and College Campuses?

The panelists were in unison that the freshman class will likely see few and perhaps no  new international students arriving on campuses. Current undergraduates should remain in the US over summer or risk re-entry in the fall.  The time for approval of new student visas is now- and we all know borders are closed to visitors from  most nations. What you may not know is that international students are very rarely offered any form of financial aid. At universities with as many as 15 to 20% of the student population comprised of full-paying international students- this source of revenue is redistributed as financial aid to those eligible for financial assistance—this is known as tuition discounting and reflected in college budgets.  Every full paying student is subsidizing a student receiving aid to some extent in addition to funds from alumni giving campaigns.  This lack of resource is a serious concern to university officials.  The impact, there will likely be less reception to financial aid appeals for high school seniors as colleges deal with the uncertainty of a traditional source of revenue.

WILL COLLEGES re-open in the FALL?   (And what about those SUMMER PROGRAMS??)

All the panelists believed there was a very high likelihood that colleges may again continue in an online mode for the fall.  These decisions will have to be announced by July at the latest -leaving families scrambling.  No one wants to pay $50k+ in tuition, (and especially a freshman) to interact with peers on a screen.  University officials won’t be making the decision- the situation will be dictated by CDC guidelines at the federal level and by state mandate.  Universities will be financially impacted leaving faculty and support staff potentially unemployed.

Summer programs for high school students- most have been cancelled.  Some universities have announced that programs beginning after July may be announced later.   In my second blog post in this series, I’ll be talking about the impact on college admissions – but please keep a healthy perspective as every high school student has been equally impacted.   Some of these programs are going to be available online- I have mixed feelings about how such an opportunity is a solid educational investment or not- and will be happy to assist you in evaluating your college admissions plan.

Please review my subsequent blog post about revised summer plans for high school sophomores and juniors.


If you’re a senior trying to decide where to place your enrollment deposit or in the process of understanding and negotiating your financial aid award letter, please reach out to schedule an online college admissions appointment with me ASAP.

Whether you’re a senior planning to make a choice,  or a 10th-11th grade student starting your college research- you’ll find ongoing insights in my blog posts and social media links.  Juniors – we’ll be soon starting on annual Writers Block College Admissions and College Essay Workshop – this year- we’ll be meeting online and plan to begin in May.

Stay tuned for ongoing insights on finishing your academic year strong and staying on target with all your College Admissions Planning goals.


We’ve served clients from the East to West Coasts seamlessly.


Our current and former clients reside in locations as diverse as Metro NYC, San Francisco, Boston, D.C. and Surrounding Communities, Westchester County, Boulder, Miami, Philadelphia, Chicago, Austin, Los Angeles, Central NY (Syracuse, Rochester, Ithaca), Charlotte, Denver, Boca Raton, Minneapolis and many more.

Bonnie R. Rabin, Ph.D.
Educational and College Admissions Consultant
Professor Emeritus  – Cornell Alumni Rep
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