COVID-19 & College

COVID-19 & College Admissions 

Thank you for visiting our COVID-19 response page. While it is our hope that you find what you need here, please also check out College Chats (First Wednesday of every month 8:30 am on Facebook Live) and College Updates (Friday afternoons at 1:00 pm on Facebook Live). If you have a question you would like to hear us answer on one of these programs email

Common Application Now Open with New Additions 
The Common App has been hard at work this summer overhauling and getting the system ready for the Class of 2021. Students can now get to work on their applications by creating a profile and adding their college list. If you would like an overview of the portal please view our latest episode of College Chats.

This year, the application features an expanded Honors & Activities Section. Previously, students were given 50 characters to name the activity and 150 characters to describe their involvement. Now students have the option to add an Organization Name (100 characters), Position/Leadership description (50 characters) and a Description section (150 characters) where they can show the colleges how they were involved.

Finally, the COVID-19 Essay Question is included for students to address how the pandemic has impact them, their family, their high school experience or any aspect of their lives they feel compelled to address. Here is a preview of what you'll see:

Community disruptions such as COVID-19 and natural disasters can have deep and long-lasting impacts. If you need it, this space is yours to describe those impacts. Colleges care about the effects on your health and well-being, safety, family circumstances, future plans, and education, including access to reliable technology and quiet study spaces.

  • Do you wish to share anything on this topic? Y/N
  • Please use this space to describe how these events have impacted you.

The question will be optional and will appear in the Additional Information section of the application.The response length will be limited to 250 words. (Credit Common App)

Manatee & Sarasota Counties - Return to School Fall 2020 Plans
Both Manatee & Sarasota County School Boards are hard at work discussing and developing safe ways students could return to in-person instruction this fall.

Manatee County has returned to campus. All students and parents should continue to monitor the district's website for the latest information.

Sarasota County Residents: Proposed plans can be accessed on the School District's website.

Florida Public Universities Re-opening Plans - Fall 2020

NCAA Announces "Flexibility" for the Class of 2021
Division I:
  • NO test scores required for eligibility
  • 2.3 GPA with 16 NCAA approved core corses, 10 core courses (seven English, math and science) completed by the start of the seventh semester of high school (prior to senior year).

Division II:
  • NO test scores required for eligibility
  • 2.2 GPA in 16 NCAA-approved core courses
International Students:
  • For Division I or II will be academically eligible if 16 core-course units are completed with a 2.3 (DI) or 2.2 (D11) GPA in those courses.

College Visits & Virtual Events Database
The National Association of College Admission Counseling (NACAC) has collected information from admissions departments across the country about college visits, virtual events and more. You can access the database here: NACAC College Admission Status Update.

The SAT & ACT have COVID-19 response pages where students and families can get the most accurate information on their test date, testing site, registration and more.
Both the SAT and ACT are making plans to prioritize the class of 2021 when testing resumes in person as well as planning for online administration. Please visit and monitor the SAT and ACT websites to stay up-to-date.

The Test Optional Movement

Colleges are aware of these closures and actively discussing how to handle test scores for the Class of 2021. Over the course of the last few years, some colleges and universities have started to move away from standardized testing as a part of their admissions review process. FairTest is keeping us all up to date. 

Tips for Researching Colleges during COVID-19 Closures

  • Many colleges and universities already offer virtual resources for new and prospective students to engage with current students and learn more about their campus. 
    • Institution Website: Dig deeply into the website for the university or college of interest. 
    • Virtual Tours: Does the school offer a virtual tour? These can be found on YouVisit, CampusTours or the school’s website or social media platforms. Having trouble finding one? Try a Google search or explore YouTube to see if the school has their own channel!
      • Virtual Information Sessions: As colleges look to find ways to engage with prospective and admitted students, admissions departments may offer webinars in place of information sessions.
      • Social Media Student Groups: Most commonly found on Facebook, these groups can be organized by incoming class year, major or student organization. If you have been admitted, join your class group to keep updated. If there is an organization you might be interested in joining once you get to college, find that group and reach out to the Administrator with questions about campus life.
      • Admissions Ambassadors: These are students employed by the admissions department who, under normal circumstances, give tours and chat with students and families who visit campus. Reach out to the office of admissions to ask about getting connected with an Admissions Ambassador.

COVID-19 & Admissions Discussion
Debra Landesberg - Founder & President of My College Resource - speaks with Cyndy McDonald on her podcast "All About Your Next Steps" about the changing prospects of college admissions during this historic period of COVID-19.