INCLUDEnyc Voices

Impact of COVID on College Admissions and Enrollment

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Planning for college while social distancing can be stressful for students, including high school juniors and seniors. You may wonder how you can research colleges if you cannot visit in person. You may feel anxious or confused about possible changes in admissions and support programs. 

As nearly all colleges have shifted their admissions and enrollment operations during the past few months, here are some ways to create a safe, calm, and positive experience applying to and attending college during COVID-19.

For those applying to college: 

With campuses closed, how can I go on a college visit? 

Colleges have been reassuring students that while in-person events are cancelled, they are exploring online ways for prospective students to connect. For example, Hunter College offers an array of options for students to explore the campus with a digital tour and virtual information sessions.

How can I get information about financial aid and admissions? 

Colleges and universities are all mandated by law to report a variety of information to you about cost, graduation rates, and post-graduation student outcomes. You can find this information on any college website, but you can also inquire by phone.

Even if offices are closed for in-person visits, they will still be operational. A student can always reach out to an admissions or financial aid office by email or phone if there are any questions about the application process.

How will the admissions process be impacted by COVID-19? 

Generally, admissions decisions continue to be made with usual criteria. Early Action and Early Decision timelines might be pushed back in response to uncertainty around SAT and other college admissions test dates. Be sure to check admissions information on college websites. There are likely to be many updates in the coming months.

For new college students, entering their first semester: 

How should college students stay updated on changes to classes and campus services due to COVID-19? 

Follow your school’s social media accounts, visit your school’s official website, and check your college email account daily. Identify your college’s coronavirus-specific text or email hotline, e.g. CUNY’s email hotline is

How can students get information about their college’s distance learning platforms if they need help using these tools?

Most college’s technology platforms and cloud resources, such as Blackboard, Microsoft Office 365 (including OneDrive), and Dropbox can be found online. Contact your campus information Technology (IT) department for assistance. You can also speak to your college classmates, friends, and other academic support contacts.

Whom should students reach out to for academic support? 

For students who were receiving academic support through programs on campus, reach out to your contacts at the program by phone or email and inquire how to access this support remotely. Contact the tutoring or learning resource center at your college to sign up for online tutoring, if available. Reach out to the Office of Accessibility to inquire about how they are supporting students with disabilities. Reach out to your note-taker or tutor, if you have one.

If you’re having difficulty with the content in a specific class, contact the professor with questions. You could also set up a virtual office hours meeting, if available. If the professor is unresponsive or if the issues require additional support, contact the department chair for additional guidance.

Who is allowed to be on campus during school closure? 

As of the summer 2020, most campuses are closed and all instruction is being offered remotely. Colleges are typically following their state’s guidance on restricting anyone who is not an essential worker. As we get closer to the fall 2020 semester, colleges are sharing information about their instruction plans. Please contact your campus or visit the COVID-19 update page on your school’s website for more information.  

How can I make new connections and friendships if I am not on campus or taking classes in person? 

Remote learning can create a challenge for building new relationships, but there are ways to meet new people and make connections. One way you can build friendships virtually is through social media. Most college clubs, groups, and organizations have their own Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. They also may offer video conference calls as a way to connect students. You could also create a virtual study group for each of your classes, if one is not already made. 

We recognize that the significant changes presented by COVID-19 aren’t what a typical college experience looks like. But all is not lost! This is an opportunity to consider how you will create a pathway toward your goals. How will you react and adapt so you can continue to move forward? While you are not on campus in person, there are still supports available.  

INCLUDEnyc encourages families to call our Help Line if you have any questions or concerns regarding college or other transition topics. We also offer a post-secondary support program for teens and young adults (16-26 years old) called Project Possibility. To learn more, please visit our programs page.


-Written by Kevin Irizarry