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Here's how the pandemic is impacting college admissions

The college application process is changing due to the pandemic. The founder of College Shortcuts shared the best ways to navigate the process.

WASHINGTON — In the next few weeks, many students will begin receiving letters from colleges and universities about where they got accepted.

The application process continues to look different because of the pandemic and some college counselors believe the changes could have long-term impacts on the application process.

"I would say there have been more changes in the college admissions process in the last two years than we’ve seen over the last 10 years," said Neha Gupta, the founder of College Shortcuts.

Gupta said during the last year they have seen the emphasis shift from the focus on test scores to a greater emphasis on the student's story.

"The colleges are really shifting the way they look at students. Instead of having these accept and reject piles based on numbers and scores, since there’s been a shift in the SAT and the exams and the experience going virtual or in person so grades are slightly different. All of these shifts can affect how a student tests," said Gupta.

Just this year College Board made a permanent change in announcing they will stop SAT II testing, which is an added exam showing knowledge in a specific field.

"This is the first time we’ve ever seen that. I remember taking the SAT II and we had so many students take it to show off either math, science or english language skills. For the first time, College Board decided to cancel these exams. 

The essay prompt on the college application is another big change in the admission process.

"This is a personal development question. Normally the questions are a little bit more rational a little bit more about problems or researching something and a solution. Common app is now launching essay prompts in relation to what’s happening in the world today," said Gupta.

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"It’s how you really showcase more skills more passion and what your values are as a person and that question to me I’m very excited about," said Gupta.

Gupta shared advice on how to best be prepared for the college application process.

"We at College Shortcuts are saying that they are looking for students who have a very powerful essay and are very strong in terms of who they are as a person and how they present why they want to go there and what they want to do there," said Gupta.

Gupta said it is important to start early when applications open at the beginning of August.

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