A webinar by EdSource’s Lary Gordon and Anna Vasquez along with a panel of college admissions experts breaks down what higher education admission looks like during the pandemic. The college admissions process has had some drastic changes affecting students and administrators. Students have had to adjust the way they approach applying to colleges and universities, just as much as administrators have had to change the way they review applications.

Perhaps the greatest change sweeping college admissions is standardized testing. Traditionally, testing was a big deciding factor in student admission. Many would argue standardized testing is outdated and since standardized testing has been dropped many more students have taken their chances at highly selective colleges than ever before. With more students applying to traditionally more selective institutions, college acceptance rates have actually lowered and students are left with few options for higher education. On the other hand, others argue test scores were simply data, some colleges have accommodated and considered various other factors which help determine their admission ranging from GPA, prompt excerpts, geographical location, extracurriculars, among other factors. 

There is another factor to consider when analyzing grades for admission. Since the elimination of standardized testing, more emphasis has been placed on grades during the college admission process. Students have felt the pressure to have excellent grades. AB 104 allows students to change their grades to a pass or fail to account for any students whose grades may have suffered because of the pandemic. This has led to somewhat of grade inflation, however, colleges will also take into account how challenging the classes they are taking are and how well they excelled in those classes. Students shouldn’t feel bad about choosing a pass or fail class because the bill would put in place to aid students not harm them. 

Over the course of the past few years, college admissions have been under fire at various institutions. Even the most prestigious colleges like Stanford and USC have been no strangers to scandals. After students and colleges got exposed for allowing students to buy their way into college, the admissions for these institutions lost their integrity when considering students. Ironically, the scandal made students more inclined to apply to these colleges once they saw the lengths privileged wealthy people were willing to go to in order to gain admission. Through transparency, college admissions hope they can earn back the trust of applicants. Not only do they hope to restore the integrity within these institutions but some colleges even hope to bridge the gap of inequality created by these scandals. 

Experts suggest students share their stories in order to stand out! They also urge students to explore many colleges to find the college that may be the best fit for them. Overall the admissions process is constantly evolving. Students should share their experiences and excel in school to the best of their ability.

To watch the roundtable discussion with college admission experts and learn more click here