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College and Career in the Time of Social Distancing

We are settling into the “new normal”:  distance learning? Check! Social distancing? Check! Zoom for social get-togethers, religious worship, and Park Academy theater productions? Check!  Even Mr. Lowery’s Friday updates are on Youtube! Doesn’t this still make you laugh thinking about it?

As the end of the year approaches, the Park Academy team is developing virtual events for both the high school graduation and eighth grade promotion.  Our graduates are looking ahead to new schools and colleges. Questions remain as to what “school” will be like in the fall, especially for our graduates.  What we do know for sure:  they will all be starting new chapters in September!

In a rare act of collaboration, all of Oregon’s colleges and universities (both private and public, two year and four year) have issued a Joint Message of Assurance to Current and Future Students They are united in helping students navigate this crisis, achieve their goals and plan for your future.

For current information, updates and opportunities, please see “Coronavirus and College: What You Need To Know and Do”. Scroll down to view the recommended checklists for the classes of 2020 and 2021.

Class of 2020 

Congratulations seniors as you approach the completion of your final year of high school!  Finish strong and keep an eye on your goal! The majority of the seniors will be in college next year and may be wondering about specific timelines: 

Four year-universities: May 1st is the traditional College Decision Day when high school seniors make their final decision and commit (pay a deposit) to their four-year university of choice. 

  • Change for this year: this deadline shifted to June 1st, for many schools. Watch our social media pages for our seniors announcements.

Community Colleges traditionally have a broad window for applying that extends through the summer. However, students who apply early have a better chance of finding a seat in their choice of classes.

  • Change for this year: with campus closed, schools are offering virtual information sessions and individual zoom advising appointments throughout the summer!

Most of the Class of 2020 applied early decision last fall and already received their notifications of acceptance and responded well in advance. Also, several students have already enrolled at local community colleges and are beginning the orientation process. Watch for our upcoming Park Academy Decision Day on social media where we will honor our senior class and share their plans for next fall!

College class format in the fall. Students should check their prospective college email for updates on what format the fall term will take.  Many colleges are making plans for social distancing.  A full or hybrid online option is a possibility—and one that Park Academy students have the advantage of being familiar with from this spring! Students should inquire with their college admissions office if they have questions or want to explore the possibility of deferring (postponing) their start term if they prefer, for example from fall to winter term.  Any proposed modifications a student may want to consider should be approved, in writing, and confirmed by the appropriate college official, including any effect on admission, scholarships and financial aid status.

Financial aid:  The current health crisis has broad and varied impact on the economy, from a national to individual level. If a family’s financial situation has changed dramatically it is possible to amend your FAFSA application. With student loan interest rates decreasing, there could be a savings for borrowers. Click here for one resource with several links on this topic

See the “Coronavirus and College: What You Need To Know and Do” resource for information on a wide variety of topics and specific schools.

Class of 2021 and beyond!

Current juniors and other rising classes can expect some changes in the college and career environment. What new careers will be emerging as a result of this event? What will the impact be on colleges and post high school training?

Students planning to apply to four-year colleges and universities usually take ACT/SAT tests in the spring of their junior year. Colleges know that many juniors will not have this opportunity this spring. Consequently, Oregon’s public universities recently made this dramatic announcement:

they will no longer require ACT/SAT scores for admission. Read more about this decision here. As admission tests become increasingly optional, colleges will focus on students’ academic records, extracurricular activities and recommendations. For individual colleges that you are interested in, please check the schools’ websites.  

For comprehensive information, checklists and opportunities, please see the checklist for Juniors “Coronavirus and College: What You Need To Know and Do”.

As the current situation requires social distancing and an increased reliance on virtual interactions, access to college and career information and resources has increased dramatically.  Here are some opportunities for high school students who want to explore their options:

Expo 2 Go! Your Online Career Journey! 

Park Academy high school students will remember the NW Youth Career Expo that we had planned to go to in March at the Portland Convention Center. A virtual version is now available to help you identify your career interests, explore education options after graduation, learn more about top employers and make a plan for your next steps! You’ll participate in a variety of interactive interest surveys and events, virtual tours of colleges and businesses and online job shadows–all related to your career interests!  Learn more here.

Planning for College: A virtual college night for high school students and parents.  Choose from a broad range of sessions by admissions and financial aid staff from colleges around the state. You can “attend” the Virtual College Night any time at your convenience and watch as many as you like! Topics include but are not limited to applying to 2-year, 4-year, private colleges, and how to pay for college.

Virtual College Tours: Choose from over 450 colleges across the U.S.  These virtual tours are free, but registration is required. *Check the Park Academy College and Career webpage for more details and information! If you need any assistance navigating these resources or your specific situation, please contact me or 503.594.8773.

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