PHOENIX — "Pencils down, stop writing, time's up" is a phrase fewer Arizona students have heard in recent years due to the pandemic as more colleges and universities are making SAT and ACT testing optional.
As a result, many elite schools are being flooded with even more applications, and that's leading to even more intense competition to be admitted.
"Some students may be devastated when they get that rejection at the end of senior year. What we remind them is that there are more buses that leave the station. They can transfer after year one, transfer after year two, so the dream to go to a certain school isn't necessarily over," says College Zoom admission counselor David Reynaldo. His company has been helping students get into their dream schools for 13 years.
He says pandemic-related school closures and limitations have affected students in other ways as well.
"There's an interesting correlation, where the more involved you are typically in activities, the better your GPA actually tends to be. So not having the structure of school, not having the structure of even your clubs to keep you busy after school, a lot of students tend to have trouble keeping themselves self-disciplined with their study habits," Reynaldo explains.
Once students get to college, adjusting to campus life can be tough as well, and that too has been exacerbated by COVID mitigation measures. Arizona State University used behavioral psychologists to develop free programs to help students reconnect with school activities and each other.
"There's tele-counseling opportunities that didn't exist before. There's tele-tutoring that never existed before. You're able to find somebody to speak to regardless of the time of day and a lot of that came out of the pandemic because that's what was needed." explains Matt Lopez, the ASU Associate Vice President of Academic Enterprise Enrollment, all are designed to help students be both college and COVID-19 ready.