Coronavirus 2020: Ideas and Resources for High School Students

InGenius Prep

Coronavirus 2020: Ideas and Resources for High School Students

With school closures around the world, the Coronavirus 2020 pandemic has put a question mark on how students should continue preparation for college applications. Alongside the closing of several SAT test centers, the implementation of quarantines and social distancing protocols also means that most of your extracurriculars are interrupted. You might be wondering how to spend your time off productively.

Yes, sustained involvement in your extracurriculars is important, but it’s more crucial that you stay safe and avoid crowded events or spaces. There are ways to pursue activities and collaborate with others while stuck indoors because of the Coronavirus 2020. These tips will help you navigate this time through online ways to continue to prepare for the admissions process, conduct creative projects, and volunteer to help others.

Keep Up with AP Your Standardized Test Prep

Because gatherings of over 50 people have been discouraged, the College Board has just announced the cancellation of the May SAT and makeup sittings for the March 14 session. Students will receive full refunds while the College Board works with schools and makes alternative plans to arrange for SAT sittings in the future once it’s safe and feasible. The organization hasn’t made a decision on the June SAT yet, and is closely monitoring the Coronavirus 2020 situation.

If you weren’t able to take the SAT on March 14, or you had registered for the May SAT, you’ve got slightly more time to prepare to the best of your ability. The College Board has online resources thanks to Khan Academy that can help you practice with video tutorials and practice tests so that you don’t forget what you’ve learned. Set time aside during the day for SAT prep a few days a week so that you don’t lose steam. Keep doing practice tests in order to stay in touch with the methods you’ve picked up. Once the circumstances improve and you receive a makeup test date, staying prepared during your time off will ensure that you can achieve a competitive score.

The March and May SAT dates have been canceled, with students encouraged to take the exam during the June and August dates. The April 4 ACT test has been rescheduled for June 13.

The AP program has announced that that they will provide live AP courses for free. Because test dates have been disrupted, the organization is working to develop a new test-at-home option.

Continue Demonstrating Interest in Colleges

You may have wanted to plan a series of campus visits during your spring break, which are now on pause because of the Coronavirus 2020 outbreak. But that shouldn’t mean your college research ends here — in fact, now you have more time to read up and research your options! 

Since many colleges track demonstrated interest, you might be wondering about ways to show colleges that you’ve got your eyes on them without being able to visit in person. Look out for emails from colleges that interest you: in light of Coronavirus 2020, they may offer virtual information sessions or prospective student days. Online resources such as YouVisit, CampusTours, and eCampusTours provide you with a view of campuses right from your living room. Check out which colleges are included on these sites, prepare questions you’ve got in mind, and let schools know they’re on your radar.

This is also a great time to open a ZeeMee account. Several colleges have a notable presence on this app. Not only can you use it to participate in virtual tours, but you can continue adding new videos to showcase more of yourself, as well as ask college representatives questions about any part of the application that comes to mind while you’re stuck at home. 

Impact of the Coronavirus 2020 on the College Application Process

Since the situation has impacted students worldwide, colleges have begun to adjust accordingly. Due to the changes, The University of Chicago has released a statement saying that they will evaluate applications in the context of school closures and canceled test dates. The college will also arrange for virtual information sessions.

Case Western Reserve University has made SAT/ACT scores optional for students applying to college next fall. More schools are likely to implement similar protocols.

Think About Your Ongoing Extracurriculars

The unexpected days off due to the Coronavirus 2020 might have disrupted plans you had with the members of your favorite club. But, it doesn’t mean you have to stop everything. If you’re the leader, think about ways you can still work towards a specific effort or project and conduct programming around that. For example, if you’re the president of the Environmental Science Club and you know that Earth Day is coming up, think about ways you can run an Earth Day project online! This might even serve as a good time for recruiting - see if new members wish to join and help out with the event.

You could also use this time to start an online book or film review series with the members of your club where you all read or view the same book/movie on a topic relevant to your group and then meet over video chat to discuss your thoughts. Just because you can’t host in-person meetings doesn’t mean operations can’t continue on an online basis!

Start a Creative Project

You may have been encouraged to stay indoors as much as possible, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of resources you do have at home. Once you’ve caught up on sleep, do your best to make the most out of the Coronavirus 2020 lockdown to get some creative ideas flowing. If you’re a writer, this could be the space away from people and daily activities that you need to begin working on your novel. If you’re an artist, you could organize an online exhibition featuring pieces from different members of your community that they create during this time.

This can also be a useful time to get started on project ideas you’ve had on your bucket list but never found the right moment. Launch a podcast on a topic that matters to you, create your own YouTube channel and start filming content, or take it up a notch and formulate plans to start your own business - that can function online or start operations as soon as regulations become less severe. The glass-half-full approach to this isolation period would be to think about something you’ve always wanted to do but had never found the time for previously. The project can even end up as the most impressive element of your Common App activities list!

An Initiative Relevant to the Times

Let’s face it - with everything happening around us, we’re definitely witnessing history. While you wait for school to reopen, you can also use this time to start a project that covers the ongoing updates. COVID-19 has impacted people’s lives in different ways, and depending on which field you’re interested in, you can conduct a study or a relevant project that documents some aspect of the pandemic. 

If you’re an aspiring scientist, you could explore the actual science and history behind the Coronavirus 2020 and how it’s different from other pandemics and even the flu. You could then present this data in the form of a short video, comic, or even a more fleshed-out documentary. If your career goals revolve around journalism, you could conduct a study of how the media in different countries are reacting to the spread of the virus and how news coverage has developed over time. You could even take a look at the difference between print media and social media in the coverage of reliable and accurate news. As a budding historian you could  interview friends and family members on their thoughts around the issue. 

In the table below, we’ve outlined some ways to explore different topics within your field of interest in relation to the virus and current society:

Area Project Ideas
Journalism Analyze sources of information and the importance of separating rumors from facts; Explore the value of high quality journalism in the face of a crisis; As a Women’s History Month project, take a critical look at the way the media portrays sacrifices made by women nurses and doctors
Public Policy Conduct a project on how emergency protocols have developed over the years; Explore the importance of diverse perspectives in decision making and ways to make policy decisions more scientific; Compare policy and response to COVID-19 across different countries
Science and Medicine Study the scientific steps and concepts behind testing for the Coronavirus; Compare and contrast the structure and origin of COVID-19 vs. SARS; Explore how the medical field has reacted to pandemic outbreaks over the years
Psychology Study the short-term and long-term effects of fear of the unknown; Conduct research on how and why people use humor to alleviate stress and fear; Explore how the psychological impact of trauma can be minimized within an individual or a community
Arts Examine the similarities and differences between responses to the Coronavirus outbreak vs. the situations shown in films such as Contagion and Pandemic; Take a look at the effectiveness of music and the arts during times of crisis; Document your days in a journal to create a record book of the current situation
Nature and the Environment Analyze the relationship between humans and nature; Study the kinds of environments necessary for a disease to become a pandemic

Regardless of where your interests lie, there are plenty of ways to make a positive impact during this time. 

The impact of the Coronavirus 2020 is still playing out, as locations are affected at varying paces. As isolating as staying home for days at a stretch can be, it can also be a good time for future college applicants to get the ball rolling for a project or initiative that ends up on their college applications. It’s undoubtedly a very difficult time, so make sure you take care of physical and mental health, as well as spend time with your family and loved ones. Stay safe! 

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