Summers have long been a time for high-schoolers like Avery Grove to travel, volunteer, work or enroll in a summer course to beef up their college application. But not this year.
"I was going to go to NYU and study musical theater over the summer and do like a program. Couldn't do that," said Grove.
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COVID-19 essentially grounded all teenagers, keeping them home, but some students, like Grove, haven't let the pandemic slow them down. She volunteered to perform via Zoom at the Motion Picture and Television Fund nursing home in Woodland Hills.
"It was a virtual like happy hour kind of situation so I just sang a song for them. It was really sweet," said Grove.
"I'm seeing a lot of really innovative things from students that are really inspiring," said Kirsten Hanson-Press, a counselor at CollegeWise.
Hanson-Press says this is the time for students to get creative and come up with their own experiences.
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"Getting a job has always been one of the most incredible things you can do for a college application," said Hanson-Press. "Now the economy looks a little different, but I have a lot of students who are doing Post Mates, dog walking for seniors that can't get out, are delivering groceries, created babysitting pods or tutoring pods where they can keep safe. And they can also support those families and students in their own community."
And while high-schoolers aren't able to take college programs at their dream school this summer, hundreds of courses, even from top tier schools, are now online for free.
"I have a lot of students taking advantage of the opportunity to take a lecture from an esteemed professor or virtual tours to schools that aren't easy for the average student to get to and tour," said Hanson-Press.
Meantime, some 300 college deans have endorsed a statement from Harvard University's graduate school of education. The statement reads, in part:
"We emphatically do not seek to create a competitive public service 'Olympics' in response to this pandemic. What matters to us is whether students' contribution or service is authentic and meaningful to them and others."
The statement goes on to say no student will be at a disadvantage if they can't take part in extra-curricular activities.
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