May 1 Decision Day — Not!

May 1 date for blog

May1 has traditionally been the deadline for students to tell colleges where they plan to attend college in the fall. This year, however, that deadline should be considered flexible. More than that, students and their families should be advising the colleges they wish to attend that they will be postponing their decision until they know more about whether the college will open for the fall semester, whether courses will be taught in person or online and whether there will be dormitory facilities available. (There are lots of other questions, but these will do to start.)

Survey after survey has revealed that many students are very reluctant to commit without knowing what the college will be able to provide in the fall. You should be too.

A poll conducted in March by the marketing and research firm SimpsonScarborough revealed dramatic findings for high school seniors who were planning to attend college before the Covid-19 pandemic hit. Twenty percent of those surveyed believed that because of Covid-19 it is likely or highly likely they will not attend a four-year college in the fall, but will, instead, attend a community college, take courses online or not attend college.

Even students who have already paid deposits are rethinking their decision. A survey of 1,171 American high school seniors released today reveal that 12% of students who paid a deposit changed their minds and no longer plan to attend a four-year college full time. Art & Science Group, which did this survey, also reported in a press release that “for all but 400 institutions that have extended their deadline to June 1, over four-fifths of non-depositors have expressed doubts about their ability to attend their first-choice school.”

While it is difficult to contact colleges by phone because they are closed, families should be contacting the colleges the student wishes to attend in order to get clarification about these and other matters. That said, the fact is that nearly all colleges are still trying to decide what they will be able to provide when college reopens. In these circumstances, the traditional May 1 deadline cannot be what it used to be, nor should it.

Today’s SATs Delayed 3 Hours in Hong Kong

Today’s SATs were delayed about three hours in Hong Kong because the subway system had been shut down by the authorities in response to protests by thousands of citizens opposing the heavy hand of China in Hong Kong.  Hong Kong is 12 hours ahead of eastern daylight time.

The Wall Street Journal reported, “Thousands of students from Hong Kong and mainland China take the test each year in a cavernous exposition center near the airport.” Imagine the stresses on these kids as they went in to take their SATs.

If you haven’t been following the protests in Hong Kong, you should be. Why? Because of their effect on China. The protests take place on the weekend and are now in the 18th weekend. They began in opposition to a China-sponsored bill that would have allowed people to be sent for trial in mainland China’s opaque justice system. Additional civil rights demands have been added as the number of protestors has grown to tens of thousands.

Rising Seniors! Listen up!

The first College Board Scholarships Deadline is July 31. Don’t miss out.

The first scholarship, the Build Your College List scholarship, will close on July 31st for the class of 2020. Be sure to build your list of 6+ colleges on BigFuture to be eligible for the $40,000 Complete Your Journey scholarship.

You must participate in all six scholarships to be eligible for the $40,000 Complete Your Journey scholarship, but if you miss the July 31 deadline, there are five more drawings for scholarships, each with its own deadline.  So, check out the College Board Opportunity Scholarships website for the rules.

The College Board Opportunity Scholarships program is open to all class of 2020 students in the United States, Puerto Rico and the US territories. Students in the class of 2021 will be eligible next year. For more information, please see Official Rules.

Good luck.