College counselors advice on coronavirus challenges

AUSTIN, Texas — Parents and high school students have a lot of questions about the college admissions process with the COVID-19 changes. Collegewise counselor Liz Pack said her team has been working hard to find out all the answers for families. 

“Colleges aren’t entirely sure what’s going to happen,” said Pack. “Families aren’t entirely sure what’s going to happen, but what we have historically seen is that colleges adjust. Whether it’s Hurricane Katrina, whether it’s been fires in California, colleges ultimately want to educate students.”

Pack said do your research, call admissions offices and keep yourself updated with college news.

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KVUE reached out to the University of Texas, Texas State University, Texas A&M and the University of Houston. All of the schools said they don’t have plans to delay the fall semester. 

Pack said, regardless, preparation is key. 

A lot of Central Texas school districts are changing their grading format, but Pack said students shouldn’t slack off because of it. 

“Keeping in contact with the schools that they’re interested in and asking those questions. I mean, every admissions officer, every enrollment management, every director of admissions is just like us, at home right now, trying to figure out what is going to be the best possible solution for families,” said Pack.

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“Will pass/fail, on its own, increase your chances significantly to get into a college? Probably not a ton,” said Pack. “I mean, some students might see an increase in their GPA, but it’s going to be the same as it’s always been for especially highly selective schools. They’re going to be asking, ‘OK, so your classes are pass/fail. You might have a little bit more time to explore teaching yourself another language. Are you trying to do a fundraiser in your community? What else are you doing with your spare time and the pressure off of having to perform really well in these classes?'”

Pack said if you’re thinking about taking a gap year because of a COVID-19 financial situation, it’s your right to do so, but she said a college education, in the long run, is still valuable. 


Colleges are doing what? Bring us your questions (both big and small… ) about college, testing, financial aid, summer planning, and, really, anything. Tune in to our Facebook Live “Ask Me Anything” series. https://hubs.ly/H0ptN3T0

“Especially if the student needs to be more helpful with the family. If there are other siblings that need to be taken care of, if they need to get a job to support the family. So, again, I think that’s a pretty family-specific, but it’s possible,” said Pack. 

Pack said that if a student is in some type of test prep, students should continue, but also be aware the June and July SAT tests were canceled. 

“They need to keep preparing for their AP exams. They should be exploring their curiosities and seeing what else they can be taking on right now. So, I think the biggest question is, what should we be doing? I think right now we have to try to keep it as normal as possible,” said Pack.

If you have questions, you can reach out to Collegewise counselors.


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