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Changing with the times: the college admissions process

Changing with the times: the college admissions process

Like many things around campus, the University of New Hampshire’s (UNH) admissions process needed to adapt due to the coronavirus (COVID-19).  

One of the biggest changes that prospective students experienced is the operation of campus tours. Last spring, all of the campus tours were cancelled and did not resume until this August.  This August, in-person tours resumed, but with much smaller groups and more frequent time slots. UNH started to offer student-led virtual tours for prospective students and the school plans to continue those at least through this fall. Prospective students and their families from outside New England are not allowed to attend in-person tours and must opt for a virtual option. 

In addition, UNH Admissions started to livestream tours on Instagram as an alternate way for prospective students to see campus. Admissions plans to engage with students and families virtually during open houses, virtual tours, admission office hours, virtual fairs, and even one-one-one meetings with their admissions counselor. This gives prospective students the opportunity to see all that UNH has to offer, while being safe.  

“Our admissions staff is even more accessible now through chat, text, and increased opportunities to schedule individual zoom meetings. While COVID-19 has created a great deal of stress, I believe some of the changes in admissions have been for the positive for students as we have adapted quickly to respond to the needs of students and their families in their college search and application process,” said Admissions Counselor Tara Scholder. 

Another change that both the university and students have had to adjust to is the cancellation of standardized tests. Many schools have had to transition to test optional for fall 2021 applicants, but UNH started to be test optional back in fall 2020.  

One of the biggest changes for both the fall 2020 and 2021 admissions process is that some high schools are switching to “pass or fail” grades. On the UNH COVID-19 admission FAQs page, it states, “UNH supports the decisions made by high school faculty and administrators regarding what grading methods they think most appropriate given the academic adjustments required by the public health challenges we are all facing.  Accordingly, we are deferring to what the high school/institution believes most appropriate for grading methods in the spring semester 2020. Students should still take full course loads, do as well as they can, and take courses pass/fail based on advice from teachers and school counselors.”  

The website also states that both elective and core classes can be taken as pass/fail.  As for how the school will evaluate pass/fail grades, the UNH Admissions COVID-19 FAQs says, “Students must still take required courses needed for admission and/or the major they hope to study.  If a student presents, in our opinion, too much ‘F’ achievement, admissions staff will consult with school counselors for additional detail and context of the student’s experience.”  

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