Even Everything is Cancelled, You can Still Stand Out in Your College Application

Strategies to deal with the UNPRECEDENTED 2021 college application

2021 Fall Application is fast approaching. High school seniors, are you ready?

COVID-19 has changed so many things and there are a lot that are uncertain. But one thing we can be sure: the college application will never be the same.

So this article is not just for the seniors, but for all high school students.

Recognizing the unique challenges high school students are facing, over 365 colleges led by Harvard came out and put forward a joint statement titled “Care Counts in Crisis: College Admissions Deans Respond to COVID-19” You should absolutely read the four pages statement carefully as a guide to your application this year.

Jeffrey Selingo, who was given extraordinary access to the selection process of many very selective colleges has a new book called “Who Gets In and Why: A Year Inside College Admissions” coming out on Sept. 15. Based on his knowledge and insights, he offered several very important predictions for college application in 2021 and beyond, including:

  • College admissions are never going to be the same
  • More schools will allow “early decision” and will admit more students from the “early decision” pool. He said in the Great Recession, schools leaned extra hard on this and now will do the same, amid economic anxiety they are facing
  • Standardized tests such as SAT and ACT will mean less which means the rigor of the high school courses now weigh even more; however, it is unclear who is going to benefit more from this change, the privileged or underprivileged 
  • Finally, it will be more difficult for students to boast about their extraordinary accomplishments outside of their classroom and leadership experience with everything canceled
  • You should definitely read his interview in the New York Times and perhaps get his book “Who Gets In and Why: A Year Inside College Admissions” on Sept. 15.

Yes it will be more difficult for high school students to highlight their extracurricular activities in the pandemic. Even the Care Count document said, “No student will be disadvantaged for not engaging in extracurricular activities during this time”, I doubt this is more a wishful thinking, rather than an admission policy that all colleges will abide by. After all, there are still many activities you can engage on despite the pandemic. 

So what can you do?

First, put your creativity hat on.

Second, pick one thing from the list below that you are passionate about doing:


Make sure you check out so many wonderful projects that ACAN Youth have been doing and are still doing. Look at their examples and find out what you can do. 

Difficult times never means we should take a “victim” mentality and sit idle. Challenges should always be the ultimate motivator for actions, not excuses. After all, college application, no matter how brutal, is far less challenging than the real world problems we are all facing. The colleges are looking for problem solvers and the worlds need more change agents.  

You can be one of them.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: