As with so many aspects of life at The Evergreen State College, the admissions process has shifted as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. Applications can be completed online, as always, but you now have more digital remote access to the admissions team than ever before. Additionally, application fees and ACT/SAT test score submission have both been waived.
Wade Arave is the college’s director of admissions. He and his team are responsible for helping prospective students make important decisions about their educational future. They coach them on how to choose a college, how to pay for college and how to choose an area of emphasis for their studies. His office helps students decide if college is right for them and, if so, if Evergreen is a good fit.
“College education is one of the top three financial investments a person will make in their lifetime,” explains Arave. “We have to build trust when we start forming a relationship with a prospective student.” That trust typically comes with face to face meetings at a college fair, a visit to a high school or a tour of Evergreen’s campus. The social distancing guidelines in place because of COVID-19 have put a stop to all of those in-person touchpoints.
Adaptation to the new circumstances has been swift. While digital communications for admissions counseling had been used increasingly over the last decade, they are now a primary means of communication. Admissions counselors stay in touch with their prospective students via email, telephone and video chat apps. They are as available as ever to answer questions about Evergreen, the application process, financial aid and transitioning to college life.
Digital methods are now being used to connect with new prospective students as well. A platform called Strive Scan has been around for several years. It is a mobile phone app for college admissions teams to connect and maintain contact with prospective students they meet at college fairs. In response to the social distancing guidelines brought on by COVID-19, Strive Scan is hosting the Strive Virtual College Exploration Week, Monday April 20 – Thursday April 23. Over 300 colleges and universities from over 40 states and 10 countries will participate, including Evergreen.
Arave explains that in addition to employing digital tools to connect with new prospects, Evergreen had also been moving toward a regional recruitment model prior to the COVID-19 crisis. Evergreen is now staffing remote admissions counselors around the state to augment outreach in a broader range of communities. Decentralizing the admissions office “makes us more flexible, and more importantly, helps us provide greater service to more prospective students,” Arave explains. “When a counselor lives in the area they serve, they are significantly more accessible and can provide a more personal walk through of the application process.”
The shifts in the recruitment and admissions process are forcing the admissions team to implement this program more quickly than anticipated and work out the kinks. Arave sees this as a good thing. In the long run, more accessible admissions counselors mean greater equity in the admissions process.
In addition to shifting their outreach and counseling strategies, Evergreen has made administrative changes to the application process. Because SAT and ACT tests were canceled due to the COVID-19 crisis, Evergreen has changed the required submission of a test score on their application to a test-optional approach, allowing students to submit an essay instead.
Arave shares the story of a high school senior in Portland who was recruited to Evergreen’s soccer team and planned to start classes this fall. She was scheduled to take the SAT in March, but her test session was canceled by mandated social distancing measures. She called Arave worried she would not be accepted and lose her place on the soccer team. Fortunately, he was able to inform her of the college’s new test score policy. In lieu of the test score, Arave asked her to submit an essay or writing sample for evaluation. As a result, there won’t be much lag in her acceptance determination.
In addition to waiving test scores, Evergreen is accepting unofficial transcripts and they are waiving application fees for all applicants until further notice. As always, they are accepting applications all summer long for those who want to start in the fall quarter.
“When changes in routine and structure happen, the natural instinct is to stop and wait,” says Arave. “If you are a student who intended to go to college in the fall but haven’t committed, the time to act is now. The digital resources are in place for you to seek guidance and make decisions about your future.
There is no better educational community in which to prepare yourself for an unknown future than with the creative, critical thinkers at The Evergreen State College. Start your application or contact the admissions team today.