August 1st is recognized as the official start of application season with the opening of the Common Application. Some students are already deep into essays and setting up accounts, while others have not thought much about it just yet. If you or your student is in the latter group, that is okay…but it’s time to get started.

Standardized Test Scores

As you know, many schools went “test optional” for last year’s application cycle due to the pandemic and the lack of testing sites (not to mention student health). Test optional became a hot topic for many as they debated what schools were really looking for in a student. In fact, data from the previous admissions cycle shows that many test optional schools did accept more students who sent in test scores, BUT they still took many who did not. Some students who felt they had no chance at certain schools (because their scores were relatively low), applied test optional and got in!

For 2022, similar to last year’s cycle, “test optional” remains a significant change to the process. Specifically, most schools have carried this option forward, realizing that they can evaluate a student without test scores, as there is so much more to an applicant than just one number. However, sending test scores to test optional schools can be extremely tricky. There is a significant benefit to using a college consulting professional to help you strategically decide which schools to send scores to and where to go test optional when you are applying.

While many schools remain test optional, a few bigger school systems have different requirements. All Florida and Georgia state schools will continue to require test scores. In contrast, all University of California and California State schools are going test blind, meaning they will not consider ACT or SAT test scores even if sent.

Extracurricular Activities

We all know Covid affected extracurricular activities for everyone. Colleges know this as well. There are a few notes you can make on your activities section in the application to allude to Covid “disruptions” or you can insert brief information in another area of the application, but colleges realize nothing has been “as usual.” No one will be judged on that. While Covid did impact so many activities, the pandemic also opened doors for some activities that were out of the box or alternatives to more traditional opportunities. Students should make sure to include these activities whether babysitting for friends or families to help them out, to community service efforts, to jobs you worked to help your family financially.

While life struggles to get back to “normal”, for the most part the college admissions process has not changed dramatically. Colleges continue to evaluate courses and grades, activities, and essays. They want students to show they put their best foot forward and challenged themselves. They are looking for the students who will add to their campuses and be a good fit.

Campus Visits

Many students, unfortunately, were not on campus last year, at least not in the fall. This year, both Freshmen and many Sophomores will be able to take advantage of New Student Orientation, in-person classes, athletic events and more. This also means that current high school Seniors can go visit campuses and gain a sense of what a school is like. This can be a great opportunity to see how you feel about the campus, the location (and weather), the students, the classrooms, and the overall vibe. There are so many great schools and options to explore. Feel free to contact a Milestone College Advisor if you have not yet done so and we can help you find your best fit school!

Best of luck,

Courtney Fahn, Milestone College Advisor