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  • College Admissions Changes

    Since I work with GenX professionals, I thought I would share a few things I've learned recently about how quickly the college admissions process has changed with the virus. I have a high school junior, so we're in the same boat.
    • SAT and ACT testing has been pushed back to June 6th and 13th. Obviously, these are subject to change.
    • Some colleges are dropping SAT and ACT testing for the incoming freshman class. I know of at least one school that has dropped it for the next three years
    • AP Testing will now be at-home tests. The tests will now be 45 minutes in length as opposed to 3 hours. Also gone are the multiple choice questions and are now replaced with open-response questions. It is up to individual colleges what they do with these AP test results.
    • I don't know of any colleges currently doing in-person visits. My junior was a bit upset the big visit to his number 1 school was cancelled, but he gets it. They turned it into a virtual visit. Most colleges are doing these where your student can meet with professors, admissions specialists, and current students.
    • Colleges are also starting to drop application fees. They need students and know the financial situation has changed quickly for many.
    • May 1st has traditionally been the day seniors decide on a college. June 1st is now the deadline for many colleges.
    • The percentage of high school students saying they will choose a college closer to home and less expensive has increased. I will say it was much easier for me to pick up my college freshman from 45 minutes away as opposed to my friends with kids hours and hours away.
    • It's too early to say what changes this will have on financial aid. I am encouraging people to revisit their FAFSA if their financial situation has changed. Also, not a bad idea for kids to look for more scholarship applications. My younger one just needs to look for ones that deal with video gaming late at night
    Stay safe and healthy!

  • #2
    Excellent summary of a timely topic (for me). I have one in college (son) and one senior in high school (daughter).

    Our senior in high school is slated to go to Tulane this summer/fall, which is a very expensive private college. Her 529 plan was heavily invested in fixed income going into this year, and it is down about 2% from 12/31/19. (I have noticed that in all areas, including 529 plans, I tend to be more conservatively positioned than most investors on this forum.) To wit, our ability to pay for her college is, thus far, minimally impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, even with my furlough, but...

    1. We do not know if college will be starting on time in August (I personally count it)
    2. We do not know if college will be starting on time in August on campus (I doubt this even more)
    3. We do not know if college will be interrupted in the Freshman year
    4. New Orleans, while in normal times is a charming, fun and interesting city, in challenging times can be a frightening place, and the local leadership has done little to inspire confidence in this and previous crises.

    There was a zoom chat (I am already sick of those) with the college admissions team for perspective students, and the head of admissions tap danced around the issue of school starting on time, on campus, etc. because like the rest of us, nobody really knows how this is going to play out.

    All of this leads to the financial issues. While on January 1, 2020, I was willing to pay most or all (depending on final scholarship considerations) of the previously quoted tuition, room, and board for this college, given the additional unknowns and risks of attending Tulane (or any college in the fall), I am less willing. I suspect that one of the reasons that the commitment date has been moved to June 1 (from the traditional May 1) is that colleges are stilling trying to figure out what the fall semester looks like and how much to charge for it. The financial status of nearly all prospective attendees' families has also significantly changed, ours included, and colleges are probably considering that, as well. No way I am spending $70k (or whatever) for my daughter to stay at home and learn remotely, and no doubt others are thinking the same.

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    • #3
      VagabondMD - What's up with miami to NO? My daughter is a junior and has that along with our alma mater on her target list. USC and ND (how DARE she!) still top her list and very interesting to see where the Test optional movement is going with all this. Yeah, 529s luckily not much impacted.

      Her SAT was supposed to be that weekend and was cancelled and she was NOT happy about it. Summer USC just announced yesterday-- online only -- she was crushed. She still has about 6 colleges on her list to visit to show demonstrated interest and we're planning that as soon as safe travel allows.

      Very interesting year for these rising seniors; but REALLY feel for the graduating class on having to make paper decisions for many of them on their college for next 4 years.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by StarTrekDoc View Post
        VagabondMD - What's up with miami to NO? My daughter is a junior and has that along with our alma mater on her target list. USC and ND (how DARE she!) still top her list and very interesting to see where the Test optional movement is going with all this. Yeah, 529s luckily not much impacted.

        Her SAT was supposed to be that weekend and was cancelled and she was NOT happy about it. Summer USC just announced yesterday-- online only -- she was crushed. She still has about 6 colleges on her list to visit to show demonstrated interest and we're planning that as soon as safe travel allows.

        Very interesting year for these rising seniors; but REALLY feel for the graduating class on having to make paper decisions for many of them on their college for next 4 years.
        My wife went to Tulane, and my daughter spent last summer there and liked it a lot. (If your daughter goes to ND, we are no longer friends. )

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        • #5
          Reduction of tuition or at least a freeze would be appropriate. Terrible look if not doing this.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by VagabondMD View Post

            My wife went to Tulane, and my daughter spent last summer there and liked it a lot. (If your daughter goes to ND, we are no longer friends. )
            Party school. I got accepted to med school there. Went to state school instead secondary to price. It would be a fun place to go.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by ENT Doc View Post
              Reduction of tuition or at least a freeze would be appropriate. Terrible look if not doing this.
              I expect reductions. As a related data point, the private school that my son (older child) attended and graduated from in 2017 sent an email out this week that tuition was being cut $2000 (about 8%, I would guess), that everyone was going to be placed on an installment plan for no additional charge (previously $300), and everyone was going to be enrolled in the tuition insurance plan (also previously a $300 charge).

              Obviously, they are concerned about a potential late decline in enrollment as a result of the COVID crisis and the related financial fallout. Lots of docs send their children to this school and are likely negatively impacted.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by VagabondMD View Post
                Excellent summary of a timely topic (for me). I have one in college (son) and one senior in high school (daughter).

                Our senior in high school is slated to go to Tulane this summer/fall, which is a very expensive private college. Her 529 plan was heavily invested in fixed income going into this year, and it is down about 2% from 12/31/19. (I have noticed that in all areas, including 529 plans, I tend to be more conservatively positioned than most investors on this forum.) To wit, our ability to pay for her college is, thus far, minimally impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, even with my furlough, but...

                1. We do not know if college will be starting on time in August (I personally count it)
                2. We do not know if college will be starting on time in August on campus (I doubt this even more)
                3. We do not know if college will be interrupted in the Freshman year
                4. New Orleans, while in normal times is a charming, fun and interesting city, in challenging times can be a frightening place, and the local leadership has done little to inspire confidence in this and previous crises.

                There was a zoom chat (I am already sick of those) with the college admissions team for perspective students, and the head of admissions tap danced around the issue of school starting on time, on campus, etc. because like the rest of us, nobody really knows how this is going to play out.

                All of this leads to the financial issues. While on January 1, 2020, I was willing to pay most or all (depending on final scholarship considerations) of the previously quoted tuition, room, and board for this college, given the additional unknowns and risks of attending Tulane (or any college in the fall), I am less willing. I suspect that one of the reasons that the commitment date has been moved to June 1 (from the traditional May 1) is that colleges are stilling trying to figure out what the fall semester looks like and how much to charge for it. The financial status of nearly all prospective attendees' families has also significantly changed, ours included, and colleges are probably considering that, as well. No way I am spending $70k (or whatever) for my daughter to stay at home and learn remotely, and no doubt others are thinking the same.
                Your daughter’s choice of college is not necessarily based on economics. However, if there is any university in the country more prepared to handle any type of crisis, I don’t believe them! If your daughter “fits”, she will have the opportunity to accomplish whatever she wants. The Tulane campus and off campus housing is basically self contained. The University takes care of their students in virtually every imaginable situation.
                After Katrina, my daughter classes started in January 2006. That was tough. She “endured” 1 semester at “state u”. Glad to get back. Yes they cut sports and departments/majors. Every student/parent issue was addressed. Safety, housing, education and student life. Scott Cowen is still involved. Although he made restructuring decisions that were sometimes controversial, he and the administration rode out the flooding in the president’s office and led the rebuilding of Tulane, New Orleans, and its public schools.
                If you had one university to entrust the care of your daughter’s well being, you couldn’t pick a better one. One semester of online classes wouldn’t move the needle in your daughter’s college experience. If that was required, it’s for your daughter’s safety. FYI, Bourbon St is a very limited part of student life in New Orleans. Small classes and she will grow into a responsible adult.
                HOF 2015
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                • #9
                  Originally posted by VagabondMD View Post

                  My wife went to Tulane, and my daughter spent last summer there and liked it a lot. (If your daughter goes to ND, we are no longer friends. )
                  im glad we can all agree ND ppl are terrible......

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Peds View Post

                    im glad we can all agree ND ppl are terrible......
                    StarTrekDoc and I attended same college and med school (years apart) and the rivalry with ND is fierce and legendary. I do have a very good friend who went to Notre Dame.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by VagabondMD View Post
                      No way I am spending $70k (or whatever) for my daughter to stay at home and learn remotely, and no doubt others are thinking the same.
                      70K sounds super high if you've got no room and board to worry about. But as far as the learning remotely, I'm not entirely certain that it's really that much worse. Obviously it depends on what is being studied and the individual. However, given my own extremely lackluster class attendance, I think that remote learning would not have affected my learning one bit for most of college and the beginning of medical school (the big exception is lab stuff). In fact, it would have been better in a lot of ways.

                      Over the years, I've begun to think of college tuition as a degree printing cost, more than an actual fee for being taught. With the way the world is right now, you can learn the subject matter for just about any college class for free if you're sufficiently motivated. But for most practical purposes the piece of paper (i.e., the diploma) has more marketable value than what you may have learned.

                      In addition to the piece of paper, I think that there is a lot of good life experience that you get from going to college. So, I suppose you can think of tuition as paying for that also. But if it's just the learning of subject matter, college is largely unnecessary for a motivated individual. It's a hoop you have to jump through and you have to pay to jump through that hoop one way or another.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        My high school junior is highly stressed over the situation. The cancelled college visits, the fear that her hard work won’t count as it would have. She crushed her SATs and now faces test-optional schools. I keep telling her I think that benefits her, but really all calculations are in flux...
                        My Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFF...MwBiAAKd5N8qPg

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Antares View Post
                          My high school junior is highly stressed over the situation. The cancelled college visits, the fear that her hard work won’t count as it would have. She crushed her SATs and now faces test-optional schools. I keep telling her I think that benefits her, but really all calculations are in flux...
                          Test scores were used to screen out and target demographics to meet diversity goals. College visits were a “check mark” of demonstrated interest. Some admissions offices track every phone call. Every meaningful discussion can be had by phone. Worth the time to have the questions thought out, particularly with any academic departments (get the referrals from admissions).
                          The cream rises to the top.
                          A bright star stands out.
                          Your daughter’s test scores won’t hold her back.
                          “She is too good, look at those scores” is never going to be heard during admissions committee meeting. She will be fine.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            For what it's worth to those above and whose kids are starting in the next year or two, the two private colleges my kids go to have "tuition prepayment" plans to pay all 4 years upfront, thereby eliminating yearly tuition increases (not room/board). So in the event you have 4 yrs of tuition saved in the 529 it could make sense. In our 529's (Utah) the plan becomes more conservative as the student gets to 18, thus the historical tuition increases were higher than the gains would be in the plans. This might make even more sense for some if the schools now lowered their fees... If the kid drops out or transfers they give you the money back.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Hatton View Post
                              Party school. I got accepted to med school there. Went to state school instead secondary to price. It would be a fun place to go.
                              Funny - all my daughter's school happen to have a pretty 'active' student body life -- for better or worse.

                              -Yeah, I swore that if she goes to ND and cheers, I will show up in the student section fully decked out in my UMiami AND UMichigan garb.

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