It’s no secret that COVID-19 has impacted the class of 2020. Now, according to a recent article in the Boston Globe, many incoming freshmen are opting to defer and postpone their college entry, which will, in turn, significantly affect the class of 2021.

“Twenty percent of Harvard first-year students are opting to defer their admission … At MIT, 8 percent of first-year students deferred, up from normally around 1 percent, according to the university. At Williams College in Western Massachusetts, 90 students took a gap year instead of the usual 25. And at Bates College in Maine, 10 percent of students have requested deferral, up from 4 percent.”

This decision will likely translate into a much more competitive admission cycle for rising high school seniors (class of 2021) as these students will be applying for entry into a class that has far fewer spots available to them than in previous years.

In typical years, Early Decision (ED) is an option for students who are willing to apply in November, receive a decision by mid-December, commit to the school and accept the offer without viewing a financial aid package (which are usually released around the Regular Decision decision period: mid-March to mid-April). However, it’s also likely that fewer students will want to apply ED to a school that they are unable to visit in person due to COVID-19 restrictions.

So where does this leave rising seniors? Should they apply to more schools in the hope that it will increase their likelihood of admission? Should they apply ED if they are willing and able? Should they wait this year out and apply next year instead?

Many of the answers to these questions are difficult to answer and will only become apparent in time. The best thing families can do is be as informed and prepared for the college admissions process as possible. Do your research, talk to admissions officers, stay on track in school and continue participating in extracurricular activities.

AcceptU is here to support your family through these unprecedented times. We have over 30 former admissions officers on our team ready to offer expert advice and guide students through every step of the process. With our ear to the ground, we have the most up-to-date information on each virus-related development and can harness our experience to guide your child through the process.

About the author
Amanda San Román

Amanda earned a BA in rhetoric from Bates College, where she was a Senior Admissions Fellow, responsible for interviewing applicants and leading information sessions. She continues to conduct alumni interviews both in-person and virtually. Amanda manages communication and partnership efforts for AcceptU by facilitating webinars, events, email marketing and technology management.

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