Last Friday, BEEC’s very own Jonathan Ginsberg sat down with Tim Ravey from the UC Berkeley Admissions Office to discuss admissions topics both general and specific. The video of this conversation can be found on BEEC’s YouTube page, but you can also get to it directly by following this link: https://youtu.be/0KlounywGrk.
The conversation begins with a discussion about how admissions will be affected by COVID-19, specifically about what parents can expect this application season and how it will be different from others. According to Ravey, quarantine will affect the processes of admissions but not the spirit. For one, there will be no delay in the admissions cycle: timelines will continue as normal. However, because of the current crisis, if and when a student faces an obstacle to meeting certain admissions requirements, the student will get the benefit of the doubt. Ravey insists that certain items will be waived if necessary, and he assures applicants that their preparation was not for waste.
Regarding applications procedures, Ravey informs applicants that colleges will inform them of any changes and cancellations as soon as possible. Until they do, applications should prepare the same way they would under normal circumstances. All other high school students should remain calm and carry on as well, for schools will give the benefit of the doubt to the applicant in a situation like the one we find ourselves in right now. Remember, any changes that occur will apply to everybody.
Seniors should expect that things could be different when they start college next fall. For example, it is possible that a quarantine in some form will still be in effect. This could change policy and procedure for many things including courses, which may be conducted online for a time. Ravey reminds students that they can defer enrollment if these changes are disagreeable or too much to handle. Schools will understand, he says, but cautions that schools can only defer so many students.
When asked how students should spend their time during quarantine, Ravey responded with a question admissions officers might ask themselves when reading an application: what did the student accomplish with the resources available to them? More to the point, Ravey suggests students should use their environment to reveal their maturity and demonstrate that they are self-starters and go-getters.
On a more general note, Ravey reminds students that, beyond academic achievement, admissions committees want to see that they demonstrate leadership potential and are generous with their time and talent. Students should show their strengths! It is no different for international applicants, either, who will be evaluated in the same way domestic applicants are—that is, based on the curriculum available to them wherever they went to school. At the end of the day, context matters, so students need to tell their stories if they want to increase their chances at standing out.