I’m not going to talk about enrollment/admission requirements (I already talked about that here) but, instead, want to focus on the broader impact of group decision-making due to COVID-19 and how that affects admitted students and prospective freshman and transfer applicants.
I sat through a UC presentation about transfer enrollment management today (May 5, 2020; the presentation should get posted here toward the end of May; freshman presentation is posted here) and a question about whether current applicants could defer enrollment came up (the short answer is they can try and it’s reviewed on a case-by-case basis; some campuses have technical limitations where the system cannot actually keep the students on record past a year and you may have better luck asking for a one-quarter or two-quarter deferment than a one-year deferment). As one of the presenters answered the question, I realized that the current situation (many campuses seem to be under the enrollment target, as indicated by some early waitlist decisions) will likely mess up future admission cycles (students who are not enrolling in colleges now, and there are MANY, will likely come back and reapply in the future). The spillover may make the upcoming admission cycle(s) really competitive due to overcrowding (besides the spillover, I’m also concerned that the UCs may ask the state for an exception to cut back on enrollment due to the massive revenue loss caused by COVID-19, which would exacerbate the situation).
Advice for Admitted Students
If you are wavering about whether to start college this fall, you should go. It’s possible that the offer you have will be the best one you get within the next couple years. If you have circumstances that prevent you from attending college this fall, try your best to get deferred enrollment. Develop a plan to enumerate your non-college options (such as remote internship or work) if deferment is not possible, and be prepared for tough competition when you reapply.
Advice for Future Applicants
For students who are applying next year, brace for stiff competition. A mix of suspended admission requirements with a potentially much-larger-than-usual applicant pool is a recipe for disaster. Make sure you focus on academic preparation (don’t stress about extracurricular activities, no one expects you to work around a situation that our government can barely manage) and do whatever is necessary to strengthen your academic qualifications (maybe try to take classes for letter grades if you can and/or enroll in additional courses wherever possible). I know you didn’t sign up for this, but your ability to prepare for and deal with the fallout will ensure your future success.
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