Coronavirus Effect on Back to College

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As students return to campus this fall there has been increased reporting of COVID-19 outbreaks on campus.  Whatever the reasons, the reality is that outbreaks are occurring.

A recent study published in the JAMA Network Open, a monthly open access medical journal published by the American Medical Association stated: “In the midst of the deadliest pandemic since 1918, the question of how to reopen colleges safely after months of lockdown is of great concern. First and foremost, the strategy cannot be a one-size-fits-all approach. Rather, the best-prepared colleges will use a multifaceted approach that leverages a range of public health strategies best suited to each institution’s resources, location, and culture. Containing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) requires testing; behavioral interventions to reduce the reproductive number (Rt), such as social distancing, masking, and contact tracing; and limiting the influx of new infections from outside campus.”

A Cornell University study, The Small-World Network of College Classes: Implications for Epidemic Spread on a University Campus revealed “how quickly COVID-19 could spread through ‘small-world’ campus networks if no precautions were taken. Course enrollment networks do not capture the many ways that students are connected outside of the classroom through advisors, friends, parties, athletics and other extra-curricular activities, or living situations.”

Here is a partial list of colleges/universities where significant coronavirus cases have surfaced after classes have recently resumed:

  • University of Alabama at Birmingham
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • University of Notre Dame
  • University of Alabama – Tuscaloosa Campus
  • Central Michigan University – Mt. Pleasant Campus
  • Ohio State University
  • University of Iowa
  • University of Florida
  • University of Georgia
  • University of Texas at Austin
  • Texas Christian University
  • Baylor University
  • University of Michigan

As a result of the increases, many concerned students and their parents are contacting us to inquire about transferring to colleges.  They have safety concerns where there has been documented outbreaks or where student on-campus and off-campus behavior ignores safety measures like mask-wearing and social distancing. Some are seeking an opportunity to transfer to ivy league and highly selective college and universities (even though they may have online classes) because of their prestigious brands.

Students applying during the 2020-2021 application season and their parents are also considering the consequences of COVID-19, previously accepted students have deferred admission or students may be taking a gap year prior to applying, thus increasing the applicant pool.

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“Admissions is a competitive sport!  Why gamble with uncertainty?” – Dr. Paul Lowe

“Parents hire us because they choose to pay an admissions expert who will help them avoid making mistakes.” – Dr. Paul Lowe

Dr. Paul Reginald Lowe, founder and managing director of Pinnacle Educational Center Admissions Advisors Group, provides comprehensive counseling advice, exclusively for admissions to top private schools; Ivy League and highly-selective colleges/universities; BS/MD programs; graduate and medical schools and top visual and performing arts programs.   The admissions affiliate: Ivy League Admissions Advisors specializes in admissions to Ivy League and highly selective colleges,  Dr. Lowe also specializes in helping students who have been wait-listed, deferred or rejected gain admission into their top-choice schools: College Application Rejected. and student who wish to transfer to another college: College Transfer Admissions Advisors

Taking a Gap Year: Covid-19

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As speculation and uncertainty continue to dominate course and outcome of the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on colleges opening this fall, many students, both here and from abroad, are considering taking a gap year and then enrolling next year.

If you are in the minority of high school senior students who are considering a gap year (and your deferral request is approved by your college or university), remember that planning is the essential component of a successful gap year.  There are plenty of resources for students including books and websites to determine what types of programs appeal to you.  Two websites that will help you to research gap year programs: the Gap Year Association and the Gap Year.

Once you have an idea of what opportunities are available, think about the goals you should have for your time off.  There are thousands of options for time off as well as infinite combinations of activities.

What are the factors you should consider in planning to have a productive and meaningful gap year?  You can simplify your planning by answering these few questions:

  • What do I want to learn?
  • How much structure do I want or need?
  • What kinds of things do I want to do?
  • Where in the world do I want to be? (Assuming that in the midst of your gap year, travel restrictions are lifted.

Once you have an idea of what opportunities are available, think about the goals you should have for your time off.  There are thousands of options for time off as well as infinite combinations of activities.

Here are common ways to consider spending your gap year:

  • Internships:  Spend time working in a career field that interests you.
  • Volunteer work:  You can find volunteer work both in the U.S. and abroad.
  • Academics:  Take online classes at a local college.
  • Work:  Here is where students can become creative.

When considering a gap year, we advise our clients to PLAN, PLAN and PLAN to successfully accomplish their personal goals as well as to have a memorable experience!

 

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Admissions is a competitive sport!  Why gamble with uncertainty? – Dr. Paul Lowe

We provide our clients access to our specialized knowledge!” – Dr. Paul Lowe

Dr. Paul Reginald Lowe, founder and managing director of Pinnacle Educational Center Admissions Advisors Group, provides comprehensive counseling advice, exclusively for admissions to top private schools; Ivy League and highly-selective colleges/universities; BS/MD programs; graduate and medical schools and top visual and performing arts programs.   The admissions affiliate: Ivy League Admissions Advisors specializes in admissions to Ivy League and highly selective colleges,  Dr. Lowe also specializes in helping students who have been wait-listed, deferred or rejected gain admission into their top-choice schools: College Application Rejected. and student who wish to transfer to another college: College Transfer Admissions Advisors.