Many juniors are beginning their college search and many seniors are finalizing their college search from home. Due to coronavirus restrictions and closings, most students aren’t able to do the college visits they planned. Many are also having difficulty thinking about how to get started on the application process as classes are disrupted, school buildings are closed, college admission testing is being cancelled or delayed, and many parts of our everyday life that we usually take for granted have been disrupted. However, it is still possible to get started with the college application process. Here are some suggestions for conducting a college search and continuing to work towards completing your college application from home:

Look for Schools to Match Your Preferences

Students can use a free tool like Big Future from The College Board to look for colleges that match their preferences.This tool allows students to input information about test scores, location, majors, school size, sports and activities, and desired programs to narrow down a list of schools that match their choices. If students find a school that they are interested in, they can view detailed information and statistics about the school including details on campus life, the application process, and cost and financial aid. When students are logged in to their College Board account, they can save their list to their profile to come back to later. Big Future also has resources to explore possible majors and career interests. One big consideration may be what you can afford. This chart from Money ranks schools based on value (quality plus affordability). 

Take a Virtual College Tour

Many college-bound juniors had plans to visit colleges and universities during spring and summer vacations this year that were derailed by the coronavirus. Consider taking a virtual tour instead. Check the websites of the schools that you are interested in visiting to see if they offer a virtual tour. You can also use sites like Youniversitytv.com or You Visit to take a virtual tour or watch videos on many different colleges in one spot.

Stay Connected

As instruction moves and most likely continues to some extent online, make sure to complete assignments, meet with teachers during office hours, show up for online class sessions, and reach out to teachers with questions. When you apply to college, you will need some of your teachers from your junior and senior year to write letters of recommendation. So, these teachers need to know you and see that you are engaged. In addition, if you don’t already know your school counselor, reach out to them. They are a great resource for answering questions about the college application process. College admissions officers at schools where you are interested in applying can also be a great source of information. Often you can contact admissions officers by looking up their contact information on the college website and email them to introduce yourself and ask specific and well-thought out questions about their school.

Get Ready for the SAT and ACT

If you are a rising Junior, you can begin to prepare for the SAT by linking your PSAT scores to Khan Academy and practicing in the areas where you struggled. Rising Seniors can work on staying prepared if they plan to take the SAT in the fall by using these strategies from home.

Think About Your College Essay

Is there a story that you can tell that will reveal to us who you are? Begin thinking about what that story is and how to tell it in an interesting way. Read these college application essays published in the New York Times last year for inspiration. Then once you’ve written a draft of your story, check out the Common Application Essay prompts. As usual, the Common Application essay prompts are staying the same this year and are available now. 

Remember that although things have changed and nothing is going quite as planned, there is plenty of time for things that would normally be lost in the busyness of everyday life. Take this time to catch up on a subject that was difficult this year, explore an interest through an online course or enrichment program, or get involved with a cause that interests you. Traditional classes and extracurriculars may not be offered right now, but there are still many things to explore and take part in.

~Nina

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Nina Parrish, M. Ed.

Nina Parrish, M. Ed.

Co-Owner and Director of Education

Proud mom of two adorable girls. Teacher who has developed an education business that started at a kitchen table and has grown into a thriving small business... Click here to Learn more about Nina.

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Parrish Learning Zone helped my daughter with on-line SAT and college essay preparation. She not only scored in the top 90 percentile on the SAT after working with Lauren Cannavo, she especially benefited from the tutoring she received for her admission essays. My daughter was accepted at Notre Dame, UVA, William and Mary, and received scholarships to George Washington University and the University of Alabama. She was initially deferred at the University of Chicago and waitlisted at University of Michigan and Emory University. She eventually chose not to remain on the waitlists and committed to UVA.Lauren also advised our daughter regarding her submission of a 20 page essay on community service for DECA, a high school business club. Our daughter, along with her partner, won second place in her category at the DECA state competitions in 2019 and 2020, and received second place at the DECA international competition in 2019.Lauren was not only a top-notch professional, she really cared about our daughter and was so pleased about her accomplishments. We are so very grateful to her and Parrish Learning Zone.
Marijayne Kruus
Marijayne Kruus
2020-05-11T21:51:37+0000
love the owner. love the detailed feedback. love the attentiveness of the tutor. love Parrish!!!
Jessica Bartels
Jessica Bartels
2019-02-26T22:49:55+0000
My daughter has a math learning disability and hated math. We started working with Nina Parrish and stuck with it for several months. Her grades have improved, but more importantly, so has her self confidence. She now loves going to work on math and will even work on it at home by herself. We are grateful for Parrish Learning Zone!
Laura Ivey Ellis
Laura Ivey Ellis
2018-12-14T14:36:43+0000
Mr. Chaves is an extremely gifted chemistry teacher. It's such a difficult subject--my son was drowning by the time we found PLZ. This was truly a last ditch effort on our part. Mr. Chaves was able to turn that ship around after only 4 lessons and my son passed the SOL! He was able to distill difficult concepts in a way that made them comprehensible and he was patient and kind and gave my son the confidence to succeed. His actual eacher expressed surprise and made a point of telling him he didn't know how he did it but he was impressed. It takes a gifted teacher to get results like that.I only wish we'd found PLZ and Mr. Chaves in the beginning of the school year.
Wendy Zelazny
Wendy Zelazny
2018-06-08T02:05:15+0000
Highly Recommend
Anne Kater Reeves
Anne Kater Reeves
2018-06-07T22:46:05+0000
I highly recommend Parrish Learning Zone. My daughter was able to achieve the SAT score she was aiming for with the help of her Math (Mr. James Slane) and English (Mrs. Lauren Cannavo) tutors. Not only did they help her with practice tests but they also boosted her confidence in taking the SAT. The owners (Nina and Jay) were always prompt in answering my emails. They are very accommodating and worked around my daughter’s schedule (thank you Shiela for all your help in finding available dates for my daughter to meet with her tutors). Thank you Parrish Learning Zone for helping my daughter achieve her goal!
Beth Yankovich
Beth Yankovich
2018-03-23T20:29:18+0000
I can't say enough good things about Parrish Learning Zone. My son has historically suffered from low reading comprehension. I felt he needed a little extra help so I contacted Parrish Learning Zone. The owners at Parrish matched my son with the perfect tutor for him, they developed a rapport almost immediately. He is now in 8th grade and doing well in all his classes. My son is very active in school sports and the staff at Parrish are always very accommodating. They always reschedule with no problems. My son even likes to go early to chat with Sheila.
Beth Kent
Beth Kent
2017-11-08T18:59:11+0000
Awesome! Very structured and student focused - they identified the areas of weakness and turned those into areas of strength in a very short amount of time. I loved the communication from the tutor and the company. I received a specific report of my child's tutoring session including improvements and areas that needed continued work. I received reminders of upcoming tutor sessions - which I needed!! I felt the individual attention and service was worth every penny AND found the prices to be much more reasonable that other tutors in the area. I would HIGHLY recommend Parrish Learning Zone to any parent that needs to find highly competent tutoring help for their child. Parrish is simply the best!
Michele Hiltbrunner Freemyers
Michele Hiltbrunner Freemyers
2017-03-14T15:53:50+0000
An excellent place to take your kids for any tutoring needs! PLZ is a very personalized and hands on service! Both of my teenage boys have been through here for various reasons and I know we will continue to make use of them!
Tammy Elms Mosco
Tammy Elms Mosco
2016-06-02T12:20:59+0000
Masiel Dubois
Masiel Dubois
2015-06-23T22:16:01+0000
SAT Prep Course with Parish Learning is definitely a worthwhile invest !!...My son's scores improved over 200 plus points!!
Janice Boles
Janice Boles
2014-12-02T22:34:32+0000
I am extremely thankful to Parrish Learning Zone. I have a son that is a freshman in college majoring in mechanical engineering. I am so glad that we found out about the Parrish Learning Zone because they were very caring and really worked hard around my sons high school football schedule to ensure that he received all of the needed instruction in order to do well on the SAT testing. It was a great investment for his future. I believe this experience prepared my son for the transition to college life. He was able to attend a top engineering college and to play football there. My daughter is a senior in high school now and was admitted into two of the top ranked public schools in Virginia. She will be a freshman at one of these schools next year. She also was enrolled in the Parrish Learning Zone for preparation for the SAT. I am again thankful to the Parrish Learning Zone and feel that this was a great long term investment into their futures. I would strongly recommend the Parrish Learning Zone to anyone looking for an environment that offers a caring and knowledgeable approach to educating students. They are the best.
Angela Jackson
Angela Jackson
2014-05-15T00:39:39+0000
Andrew Powers
Andrew Powers
2014-02-09T12:32:29+0000

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