Applying to College in the Midst of a Pandemic
It’s 2020 and your senior year is probably starting off differently from how you had imagined. While it seems like everything is constantly changing, you are most likely still planning on applying to college this fall, and the Pepperdine admission team is excited to receive your application. Although none of us are experts at navigating life in the midst of the pandemic, we have a few pieces of advice for you as you engage in the college admission process.
Engage with Colleges Virtually
While many universities might not be open for in-person visits, opportunities to engage with a school online abound. From virtual tours to academic panels, you can easily connect with current students, admission counselors, and other university representatives to learn all about the schools in which you're interested. Pepperdine’s virtual tours are led by a current student to take you across our campus live via YouVisit, allowing you the perfect platform to ask about the student experience, school traditions, and what life in Malibu is really like! Schools have also moved their showcase days online to help you capture the breadth of university offerings, and while Pepperdine has wrapped up its fall Preview Week, all sessions were recorded and archived online—what an unexpected perk of being virtual!
After you attend an event, we encourage you to keep interacting with us! Download the app ZeeMee to connect with different universities, including Pepperdine. ZeeMee is a great way to continue the conversation with other potential applicants about schools that interest you. Lastly, we have consolidated all of our virtual offerings in one central page. Visit the virtual experience page to go on a tour, schedule an appointment, view upcoming events, and more.
Once you have narrowed down the list of schools you’re applying to, find a way to organize the application requirements and important deadlines. We like to recommend using a spreadsheet so you can easily stay on top of everything and have all the information you need in one place. Keep in mind that many schools have updated policies in the last several months regarding application requirements. For example, many schools, including Pepperdine, will be test optional for 2021. At Pepperdine, this means that students will not be penalized if they do not submit test scores and will still be considered for merit-based aid.
Speaking of merit-based aid, we suggest researching types of aid available at the institutions to which you are applying. At Pepperdine, there are two forms of financial assistance: need-based aid and scholarships. To be eligible for need-based aid, you will need to fill out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). Scholarships, also known as merit-based aid, are awarded on your academic performance prior to applying to Pepperdine. Visit the website to learn more about scholarships offered at Pepperdine and the specifics of financial assistance.
Connect with Counselors, Friends, and Family
Now that you’ve chosen the schools you want to apply to, remember to advocate for yourself outside of the application. How can you do that when you’re stuck at home? You can still set up a virtual meeting with your admission counselor. You can email them to share why you’re interested (and whether Pepperdine is your top choice!). You can schedule an optional interview. Finally, you can use the Additional Information section in the Common App. There you can provide us with more context regarding your experience of classes in quarantine, any interruptions you may have undergone in your education, and any other important information we wouldn’t get elsewhere. Your self-advocacy is always welcome at Pepperdine.
Ultimately, the best advice we can give you is to take things one day at a time. Applying to college can feel overwhelming, so instead of thinking about all there is left to do, do just one thing today. Maybe watch one episode of Rising Tide, or take one virtual tour. Maybe talk to a parent or guardian about the importance of the FAFSA, or have a Zoom party with your friends to brainstorm essay topics. This season may be stressful, but please be reassured that you are not alone and that you can do this. We wish you all the best as you navigate the college admission process.