Michelle Klar Oct 27 2020

What You Need to Know about Applying to College During COVID

As a result of the COVID pandemic, high school seniors are facing an unprecedented college application season. The landscape of universities around the world has changed, as well as the plans of many high school graduates and their families.  Well laid plans of two years ago have perhaps been thrown into question in light of current circumstances, leaving families to ask themselves where their students should apply to university?  Is it safe?  What are our options?   


Here is some clarifying info for parents and students to help them better prepare for college applications amid the global pandemic. 

Keep Your Options Open

More than ever, it’s important to keep your options open and consider applying to universities in more than one country. Canada, UK, Australia, Asia, and Europe all have outstanding programs that should be considered, and it’s no surprise that we have seen an increase in applications to these countries.   

Do Your Research

When considering universities to apply to, keep in mind the strength of the program you are interested in.  Not all programs are created equal or offer what you are looking for, despite the status of the university. Research the courses you will take, research and internship experiences that are available, and job or graduate school placement rates each year.  

Consider a Gap Year

For some families, the idea of a gap year or year off of school is an option rather than sending their child to a country or school where safety around COVID is still a concern.  This would be a time that a student could work in his/her home country and gain valuable experience prior to going to college. 

Click here to read "Concordia Seniors Get College Advice from Alumni"

Get the Facts

Some students and families have reported rumors that many students who were accepted to university for Fall 2020 were granted deferrals and would not be starting until Fall 2021. This would, therefore, minimize the number of current 12th grade students that could be accepted at a university for next year.  Fortunately, in talking to many university admission representatives, this has NOT been the case.

Since most universities world-wide have been offering online courses this fall, they rarely granted deferrals to students as the courses available have been deemed accessible. Deferrals are only granted in extreme situations when a student is not able to access online learning or has had an extenuating life circumstance.  

For instance, one competitive University of California school has reported that their total number of deferrals granted this year were less than 10.  Universities have been very cognizant to not have current admission decisions impose on admission rates for the 20-21 cycle.   

Each student’s situation is unique and different.  It is important to consult with your child’s high school counselor for accurate and up to date information that is relevant to your particular situation.  

This post is part of our Applying to College series, which we've put together to better prepare students and parents for the college application process. We’ve enlisted help from our Concordia high school counselors and alumni, who share tips and advice on how to get ready for this important rite of passage.