It’s protected to say that the primary days of 2021 have reminded us that predicting the long run is a idiot’s errand. Regardless of our need for certainty and consistency, we by no means know what lies forward. Even so, on the eve of the brand new 12 months, I requested faculty leaders to make predictions for the 12 months forward in faculty admission. They supplied their perception on potential enrollment tendencies, the position of testing, digital recruiting, and problems with entry and fairness. I requested highschool counselors and others supporting college students via the admission expertise to think about related questions in regards to the coming months. I additionally wished to know what issues them essentially the most and what they’re hopeful about. Not surprisingly, parallel themes emerged. Here’s what they needed to say:
Undeniably, standardized testing has a approach of dominating conversations about faculty admission. Faculty counselors witness the anxiousness and limitations that these excessive stakes assessments place on college students. However maybe there may be hope. Christine Bathroom, the Director of Faculty Counseling at The Stony Brook Faculty in New York says, “I predict that schools will proceed to be test-optional and proceed with a holistic admissions course of that does not take take a look at scores into consideration as a lot as they’ve prior to now.” Danny Tejada is the director of faculty counseling at Villa Duchesne and Oak Hill Faculty, an unbiased faculty outdoors St. Louis. He’s involved about “college students risking their lives and the lives of these round them to check,“ including, “I’m excited to see college students take a look at much less usually.” Tejada says, “I stay up for seeing schools worth a pupil’s life expertise, rigor, and grades greater than three/4 hours in a single day.” Jacob Navarrete is the affiliate head of higher faculty and director of faculty counseling/registrar at Alcuin Faculty, an unbiased Montessori and Worldwide Baccalaureate faculty in Dallas, Texas. He’s additionally hopeful in regards to the finish of testing and forecasts that “extremely selective colleges will proceed to see will increase in functions if they continue to be test-optional.”
Julie Vivian is a university advisor at TERRA Environmental Analysis Institute, a public magnet faculty in suburban Miami. She provides a unique tackle testing, predicting that at some schools, much less certified test-optional candidates will acquire admission over college students with extra aggressive coursework however decrease GPAs. Vivian says that “sarcastically, take a look at scores usually degree out the taking part in discipline, no less than in my world.” Within the 12 months forward, she is worried about restricted testing alternatives, lesser high quality instruction in AP programs, and decrease enrollment in aggressive programs. Holly Ramsey, an unbiased academic advisor within the Chicago suburbs specializing in advising homeschool college students and their households, has related issues. She worries in regards to the “lack of entry to the PSAT and AP exams for these within the homeschooling group. Some districts and states make it tough for homeschoolers to safe seats for these checks.” She provides, “that is one purpose you usually see homeschoolers choosing dual-enrollment over AP.”
Patrick Gabriel Lorenzo is a university counselor at St. Ignatius Faculty Preparatory, a non-public, Catholic faculty in San Francisco. He’s hopeful about “the College of California system being take a look at free and hopefully encouraging different establishments to take away testing from the admission course of,” including “it is the preliminary logical step in eradicating a barrier in faculty admissions that may be the catalyst to result in transformative modifications within the faculty software course of.” On the similar time, he’s involved that “although test-optional would possibly present preliminary promise for college kids who had been admitted with out take a look at scores, yield will reveal there are nonetheless challenges within the faculty admissions course of that should be addressed, particularly round using each advantage scholarships and the waitlist to satisfy enrollment.”
Talking of the necessity for transformative change, highschool counselors within the trenches with college students have a front-row seat to the disparities in entry and fairness. They see firsthand the disproportionate affect of admission insurance policies and practices on college students who’re Black, Indigenous, and Folks of Coloration (BIPOC), first-generation to varsity college students, and people from low-income households. Many are hopeful about what the long run brings for these college students. Villa Duchesne and Oak Hill’s Tejada says, “I’m extra enthusiastic about seeing faculty counselors encouraging excessive reaching, low-income Black and Brown college students to use to colleges they normally wouldn’t have a shot at, as selective schools keep test-optional/take a look at free.” He provides, “I’m excited to see how totally different the freshmen class at selective schools can be after this present cycle.” In the meantime, Alcuin Faculty’s Navarrete says he’s involved in regards to the “continued lack of fairness, continued emphasis on sure colleges, and a bifurcation of the place excessive reaching college students of shade find yourself.”
St. Ignatius’ Lorenzo is worried about “schools that need to keep outdated establishment (e.g. reinstate testing necessities, use early choice to enroll a notable proportion of their getting into class) slightly than decide to antiracist actions (e.g. eradicating all testing necessities, making letters of rec optionally available, eliminating Early Resolution). He hopes that “a common faculty software deadline is the following frontier,” saying, “if we are able to have a consensus assertion of intent to register on Might 1, why not the identical software deadline? Maybe we are able to transfer in direction of a common early deadline (someplace in mid-November to early December) and a common common deadline (someplace between January 15 and Feb. 1), with the hope of figuring out one deadline for all.”
One of many regarding tendencies in functions this admission cycle has been the decline within the variety of college students finishing the Free Software for Federal Scholar Support (FAFSA). Barbara Conner, director of faculty counseling at Foxcroft Faculty in Virginia is optimistic, although. She says, “My robust hope for the following admission season is that we see pre-COVID numbers of scholars and households finishing FAFSA varieties. The 2023 admission cycle ought to see an upward development within the variety of college students and households finishing the FAFSA since it’ll shift from 100+ questions to some dozen. Entry and fairness are essential targets for increased schooling and this could possibly be a game-changer!”
Regardless of the numerous challenges forward in faculty admission, particularly for traditionally underrepresented college students, there are indicators of hope. Stony Brook Faculty’s Bathroom says, “I’m buoyed by the resiliency of younger individuals. In our personal group, it has been wonderful to see how grateful they’ve been, how optimistic they proceed to be and the kindness they’ve proven each other, even within the face of change, lack of group in-person, zoom fatigue and a lot else that has modified about their world.” Robin Connelly, faculty counselor at Scarborough Excessive Faculty outdoors of Portland, Maine agrees. She has been uplifted by “the resiliency of teenagers, the heightened self-awareness, their expertise of getting a highschool schedule that extra carefully resembles a typical faculty schedule.” She provides, “many college students have found that they’re truly going to be okay if they aren’t concerned in every little thing, or that they’re truly okay being alone typically. There have been many tough rising pains round this, and a few college students are completely struggling closely with this; nonetheless, college students positively skilled some unanticipated positives from this expertise.”
Shanell Leggins is a university counselor at NIST Worldwide Faculty in Bangkok, Thailand. She says, “what I witnessed in 2020 that I hope will proceed properly into 2021 is resilience, perseverance, creativity, and unwavering help of scholars. The previous 12 months of loss has magnified pupil’s self-awareness, community reliance, endurance, and endurance.” She additionally predicts that “there can be a rise in transition providers and counseling help supplied at schools and universities,” as they’ve a “duty to create a tradition that’s open, inclusive and supportive.” The problem will proceed to be how they’ll do that when college students are studying remotely.
None of us can anticipate what this 12 months will convey, and inevitably will probably be filled with surprises—each constructive and destructive. What’s encouraging is that college students have considerate educators and college counselors who will proceed pushing for the constructive. We should hold working to degree the taking part in discipline in order that ALL college students have equal entry to this high-quality help. This can take intentional effort as we launch into 2021 however there might be no larger duty to our college students.