Coronavirus and College Prep Opportunities

Life has certainly changed. The way forward is unclear in many ways.
At the same time, there are incredible opportunities that have opened
up during this time.


March & April are busy times of receiving acceptances, scholarships,
aid packages, and invitations to apply for additional awards. Many
colleges have accepted student events and gatherings. With the campus
closures, most, if not all, of these events are or will be modified in
some way. Some schools have already announced that they will not hold
students to the May 1 commitment deadline. Monitor your accounts,
social media, and visit their websites for additional updates. Ask the
admissions office to connect you with students who live in your area,
then reach out to them in order to gather more information about
campus life, both academic and social. Facebook groups and other
social media is great but there’s nothing like a one on one
conversation to make connections and learn more about your prospective
colleges. Reach out to professors in a limited way; most are
overwhelmed with shifting their teaching to online modalities.

For the graduating Class of 2020 , this is a _very_ unique spring. Not
only are on-campus graduation ceremonies in question, but access to
staff, faculty and on-campus academic and extracurricular resources
have gone out the window for thousands of students. High school
graduates need to plan to hit the ground running this August and need
to maintain their strides, but now on a virtual setup. Help your
senior stay on track this spring and summer in terms of academic
advising, campus readiness, and post-degree planning, including grad
school. A Personalized Action Plan [1] plus one on one video
consulting will propel your spring and summer 2020 forward.

The April 4 ACT has been rescheduled for June 13th and the rescheduled
March SAT and May 2 SAT have been cancelled. Registered students will
receive refunds. Follow the College Board’s updates here [2] and ACT
updates here [3]. Updates about the AP exams can be found here [4].
The next update is expected on Friday, March 20. Use this extra time
to prepare for these exams. I encourage you to use ePrep’s Premium
courses so you have 6 full practice tests as well as 6 months to
prepare. Use the scheduler to double up now, while you have extra
time, then adjust it as needed. To register with my 20% off discount,
click here [5].

A global health crisis is also an incredible learning opportunity.
We’re watching public health emergency and global responses unfold
right before our eyes. In mid-February, the Imperial College London
launched a free class on the Coursera platform: Science Matters:
Let’s Talk About COVID-19 [6]. Are you fascinated by the
mathematical modeling that predicts the progression of the virus and
how social distancing and other efforts “flatten the curve”? If
so, you might like UNC’s online course, Epidemiology: The Basic
Science of Public Health [7], or Johns Hopkin’s online course, Data
and Health Indicators in Public Health Practice [8]. All three are
available free of charge.

With schools across the country closing for a period of weeks, high
schools are moving to virtual or remote learning. Since the
traditional school day has been disrupted, I encourage students to
take advantage of the time to deepen your learning and find ways to
help those in your community who may be struggling. I also encourage
you to take a little time to journal, pray, and ground yourself. We’ve
all been through enormous upheaval during the past week.
Some ways to leverage your time:

    * Take advantage of online courses on platforms like Coursera, EdX,
MIT’s Opencourseware, Yale’s Open Courses and more. Check out this
link [9] to 450 online courses you can take at Ivy League schools for
no cost. These free online courses are great opportunities to deepen
your interests and keep your mind sharp.

    * Use this free time to boost your writing abilities so that you can
return to school on a stronger footing!

    * Have you considered entering your work in writing, history,
computer science, math modeling, and art contests? Since these can all
be done remotely, this would be a great time to stretch yourself and
submit your work. Do a little research and you’ll find many contests
you can enter.

    * Start a virtual art and literary “magazine” for your
classmates, homeschool community, or the senior citizens in your
community. Encourage people to post stories, poems, artwork, and music
all composed in this time of social distancing. Give a theme and help
people get their creative juices flowing.

    * Can you create and post instructional or “how to” videos on
YouTube? Create a virtual homework club and offer it to a local
library. Offer to help homebound younger students with their lessons.
If you’re homeschooled, help others in your area sort out how to
organize their day and stay sane as they guide their children’s
learning for the first time, often while balancing their own work

    * Launch a virtual PE class with your friends. Challenge yourselves
with competitions you can do at home – pushups, sit ups, jumping
jacks, etc. Organize a virtual dance party. Get creative!

    * Explore prospective careers, colleges, majors, and more. Let’s get
you started! We’ll have a consultation then go from there.
Consultation fees will be applied to your prep program. Click below
[10] to schedule your first meeting at a time when both parents and
the student are available.

Most importantly, look for ways to help those in need in your
community. Check in regularly with your grandparents and older
relatives, as well as older neighbors and others in your community.
Write letters, make crafts to gift, lead an online class to teach
younger kids to draw pictures for the older people in their lives. Is
your community seeking volunteers to help keep food banks stocked? Can you volunteer to pack meal kits? If your older college-aged siblings
are home, can you work together to deliver meals and supplies to those
who are homebound? Can you work together to take care of the meals and other chores in your home so your parents can teach the younger kids?

is not the first pandemic. Great things can happen, even under
these unusual circumstances. During a pandemic in 1665, Isaac Newton
found himself with down time when the University of Cambridge sent
students home (sound familiar?). Later, he called the year he spent
away from school his “year of wonder.” It was then that he
famously noticed an apple fall from a tree and came up with the ideas
around gravity.

So, even as you practice social distancing and good hygiene, you can
continue to stretch yourself academically and make a positive impact
in your community. Who knows? You might discover some new passions and hidden talents!

_To Your Success,_
_Katherine O’Brien, MA CCPS_
Certified College Planning Specialist/Founder, Celtic College
Ph: (858) 705-0043 Website:

Image by TuendeBede from Pixabay

Author: Katherine O'Brien

Katherine O'Brien, founder of Celtic College Consultants and a Catholic homeschooling veteran, is happy to provide discounted private consultations to all families with 8th - 11th graders. She'll answer your questions, provide the information you need about your financial aid eligibility, make suggestions about changes you can make to improve your situation before the critical first financial aid base year for college (which is sophomore year in high school), as well as offer numerous strategies to significantly lower your college costs. For more information, please visit . Let her know you are part of the Today's Catholic Homeschooling family!