College Admissions In the Time of COVID

Recently, I spoke with families at the Sacramento Buddhist Church about the current state of education, particularly changes to the college admissions process as a result of the near holistic COVID-induced disruption. I’ve highlighted several issues in the following post, as well as included the full recording.

Questions about widespread test-optional admissions dominated our conversation, as a multi-generational precedent in college applications is broken, and as discussed here, here, and here, makes the college admissions process more subjective

For Class of 2022 Juniors, who will likely not be required to submit SAT or ACT scores as part of their college applications—many colleges are extending test optional and test blind admissions for Fall 2022 applicants, including all eight Ivy League colleges and Stanford, among many others—finding alternative ways to demonstrate their aptitude and interests through extracurricular activities will be essential.

Current sophomores and freshmen would be wise to also discriminately choose how they spend their time outside of academics. Taking note of what students are learning through watching YouTube videos, projects they’re doing in their backyards and garages or kitchens can be telling of a kid’s inherent interests, especially with fewer pre-packaged, organized activities to join of late. 

Additionally, since fewer colleges have publicly stated their testing policies for Fall 2023 and Fall 2024 admissions (affecting current high school sophomores and freshmen)—although a notable exception the University of California (UC) will be test-optional for Fall 2022 and test blind for Fall 2023, 2024 and likely 2025—freshmen and sophomores can choose whether to take the Fall 2021 PSAT as a practice exam for the SAT or ACT. 

Lastly, many parents worry, that their children’s intellectual ability will not be reflected in their grade point averages (GPAs), since hybrid/virtual learning throughout the 2020-21 school year, changed how students demonstrated their understanding, plus Pass/No Pass marks from last Spring 2020 can’t be calculated into a GPA. Thus, they believe encouraging their kid to take as many Advanced Placement (AP) classes and AP tests is essential for their student to demonstrate their academic acumen, as the AP curriculum is standardized nationally and AP tests are normed over thousands of students globally. 

I recommend that, although students can choose AP courses which most interest them, given the variety of AP classes available at their high school, families may need counsel to understand how an individual student’s transcripts may be interpreted in the admissions process, in order to effectively choose AP courses in any given school year. 


Jill Yoshikawa, EdM, a two-decade seasoned educator, is currently accepting new clients for the upcoming 2021-22 school year. Contact Jill at Creative Marbles Consultancy for more details about how to effectively navigate the new normal in education.

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About Jill Yoshikawa, Ed M, Partner of Creative Marbles Consultancy

Jill Yoshikawa, EdM, Harvard ’99, a seasoned, 25 year educator and consultant, is meticulous in helping clients navigate all aspects of the educational experience, no matter the level of complexity. She combines educational theory with experience to advise families, schools and educators. A UCSD and Harvard graduate, as well as a former high school teacher, Jill works tirelessly to help her clients succeed.
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