What High Schoolers Need to Do

Report documents all the changes colleges are making in admissions policies.

April 13, 2020

A new report by the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers finds that colleges are changing their admissions policies for next year (and this year) in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the report, most colleges are motivated by a sense that their enrollments will decline in the fall.

To make it easier for students to enroll:

  • Thirty percent of colleges are allowing pass/fail and other "non-qualitative" grades, and 32 percent are considering the change.
  • Seventeen percent of colleges are waiving application fees, and 12 percent are considering the change.
  • Thirty percent of colleges have adopted a virtual option for performance applications, and 28 percent are considering the change.
  • Forty-seven percent are delaying enrollment deposits, and 22 percent are considering the change.
  • Thirty percent have changed the deadline for an official high school transcript, and 35 percent are considering the change.

Many of those changes have been overshadowed by a massive shift by colleges -- some for only a year -- to go test optional in admissions. The AACRAO study said that 35 percent of colleges had made the change and 24 percent of colleges were considering it.

Among the colleges making the change are some of the most competitive in the country. The colleges (not a full list) that have moved in the last week include Amherst College, Babson College, Centre College, the College of Wooster, Haverford College, Seattle University and St. Edward's University.

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Scott Jaschik

Scott Jaschik, Editor, is one of the three founders of Inside Higher Ed. With Doug Lederman, he leads the editorial operations of Inside Higher Ed, overseeing news content, opinion pieces, career advice, blogs and other features. Scott is a leading voice on higher education issues, quoted regularly in publications nationwide, and publishing articles on colleges in publications such as The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, Salon, and elsewhere. He has been a judge or screener for the National Magazine Awards, the Online Journalism Awards, the Folio Editorial Excellence Awards, and the Education Writers Association Awards. Scott served as a mentor in the community college fellowship program of the Hechinger Institute on Education and the Media, of Teachers College, Columbia University. He is a member of the board of the Education Writers Association. From 1999-2003, Scott was editor of The Chronicle of Higher Education. Scott grew up in Rochester, N.Y., and graduated from Cornell University in 1985. He lives in Washington.

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