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This Week in Admissions News | Week 33

02 SEPT 2021

The world of college admissions is ever-changing and for students planning to apply to universities, it’s important to stay up-to-date on the latest developments. We’ve rounded up the latest news and given our take on what it means for future and current college students. Check back each week to see what’s new!

1. The Ivy League is cautiously resuming with athletics after nearly 18 months without official competitions

As the fall semester begins at hundreds of US universities with COVID-19 precautions in place, sports at all 8 Ivy League universities are making a cautious comeback. An almost 18-month idle period for Ivy League athletics was broken last week when the Harvard women’s soccer team had its first match of the season, representing the first official intercollegiate sporting event for the Ivy League since March 2020. Given that players have had limited opportunities to train and practice since the pandemic began, “players returned this fall in a wide range of fitness levels,” leaving an air of uncertainty for how the upcoming season will pan out — but students and coaches alike “could not be more excited to get back” to athletics.

Crimson’s Take: The conversation about college athletics brings us back to the beginning of the pandemic, when cancelled seasons across the US caused widespread disappointment and restlessness among the student-athlete community. For so many student-athletes, their sport plays a massive role in their college experience, and we know the absence of sports at hundreds of universities last year threw a wrench into these students’ plans. We’re thrilled to know that the Ivies are bringing athletics back, with safety precautions in place to help minimize the odds of disrupting any upcoming seasons moving forward.

2. New Common App report sheds light on students’ experience navigating the college application process during a global health crisis

A new report from the Common App on pandemic patterns in first-year applications found that students’ application experience amid the COVID-19 pandemic “reflected both immense challenges and perceptions of personal growth.” The report defined common trends in respondents’ pandemic reflections based on the most frequently used words in applicants’ responses about COVID-19 community disruption, which included an even mix of negative descriptors such as ‘difficult’, ‘fear’ and ‘anxiety’, alongside positive descriptors such as ‘grateful’, ‘love’ and ‘support’. 

Crimson’s Take: We are always inspired by the sense of thoughtful reflection and insightfulness we see demonstrated by young people when prompted. The pandemic is, naturally, seen most often through a negative lens characterized by difficulty, disruption and hardship; but we see in this Common App report that many students also recognize the positive impact that can result from overcoming obstacles as a community. While it is reasonable, and even instinctual, to wallow in the many challenges the pandemic has presented since the beginning of last year, we appreciate the positivity highlighted by the students’ responses in this report.

3. New bill introduced in US Congress would improve access to accommodations for disabled students in higher education

A new bill called the Respond, Innovate, Succeed and Empower (RISE) Act, supported by both parties of the US Congress, aims to help eliminate the obstacles disabled students face in seeking accommodations when heading off to university. The RISE Act would allow students with a disability to use existing documentation from high school as proof of their need for accommodations in college, and would authorize an additional $10 million USD in funding for resources for college disability services for both students in need of accommodations and the professors expected to provide them. 

Crimson’s Take: Increasing access to world-class higher education is at the heart of what we do at Crimson, and we believe that every qualified student should be able to pursue a university degree without barriers that are out of their control. We’re thrilled to learn that if this bill passes, many more brilliant young people will be able to learn at the amazing universities in the US with the accommodations they need to succeed. We agree wholeheartedly with US Senator Casey who wrote in a release about the RISE Act that “no student with a documented disability should have to jump through extra hoops or incur extra costs to access the services and support that they need to thrive.”

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