May 15, 2020
BY GERALD M. BRADSHAW
Bradshaw College Consulting
Dear Mr. Bradshaw,
I read your last column about the COVID-19 pandemic and I have a few questions. We are the parents of an International 11th grader who has been accepted at a U. S. boarding school for his senior year. He hopes to apply for admission to a college in the States following his graduation in 2021.
We are concerned because he is scheduled to travel in late August, and it is anyone’s guess what travel restrictions will be in place at that time. He will most likely be quarantined for a period of time and if we accompany him to the U. S. we may be as well. We are still working through the maze of documentation necessary for all of this to happen.
We had hoped that he would be able to avail himself of his prep school’s two-week study program in Morocco and Spain next Spring.
What are your thoughts?
Parent of an International Student
Bradshaw: international students coming to the U.S. amid pandemic
Dear International Student Parent,
In my last column I attempted to illustrate the point that the state of education in the United States is totally unpredictable because of the pandemic. The risk of infection continues to be impossible to quantify at this point.
I have several international student clients from all parts of the globe and each one of them is in the same situation. It is an open question about school openings, travel or summer internships – everything is in limbo.
Whether he should sign up for the study trip to Morocco and Spain next spring is another question. Whether he will be allowed to travel is still another question. I agree that the study trip would beneficial, and certainly memorable. But my thinking is based on the pre-virus model. Personally, I think it will take some time for the educational sector to recover and get back to a “new” normal.
In mitigation I also believe there will be opportunities if one is patient. In a nutshell that means taking whatever a school has to offer as a solution in the short term - both online and distance learning - and go with the flow until things change. Colleges and prep schools are in various stages of desperation for revenue and there may be some unique programs implemented that will benefit students.
Let me further address futures as you say your son wants to apply to college in the States for the 2021-22 school year. I urge you to pay close attention to the housing availability on the campus of his choice. Freshmen in particular generally prefer to spend their first year in a dorm where they can meet students and acclimate to student life.
For example, UCLA will have a housing shortage this fall because only one-third of the dormitories are expected to be open. Housing availability may play a key role in your son’s decisions as the pandemic continues.
An April survey of college high school juniors and seniors conducted by Sallie Mae, the publicly traded student loan company, found that 79 percent of them are still planning to attend college. Almost 90 percent said that college is an investment in their future.
In a positive move, Stanford University is reassuring prospective students for 2021-22,
saying that they “recognize the realities of the challenges faced by high school juniors” because of the pandemic and are committed to working with them with a “flexible, holistic admissions process.” I think other schools will take a similar path.
I urge you and your son to stay on top of all aspects of his application process because I believe colleges will become nimble in their response to the global crisis.
Gerald Bradshaw is a top US college admissions consultant with Bradshaw College Consulting.
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