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Staying Proactive if Your School is Closed for Coronavirus

Here at ESM, nothing is more important to us than the overall health and wellness of our students. To that end, we have followed some of our students’ schools and school districts in moving all sessions online. We have already heard from many students and parents who are concerned about how any time off from school will affect their preparation for their AP classes and tests, SAT or ACT, SAT subject tests, and college applications, but we’re confident that if students approach this time with the right mindset, they will be able to stay on track toward their college goals. Here are the top five things students should work on if their school is closed due to the coronavirus/Covid-19:

#1: Communicate with Teachers

If your school is closed, it will most likely try to provide you with some level of continued academic attention through online meetings or communication with your teacher. As soon as your school is cancelled, you should make sure that you know what each of your teachers expects from you in the coming days. If teachers don’t reach out to you automatically, you should proactively email them to find out what you can work on during your days off. Finally, if your teacher does try to hold an online class or “office hours”, you should make sure to attend and be engaged. It’s likely that many students will skip those opportunities, and taking part will build your relationship with your teachers and make it clear to them that you’re serious about doing well in their classes.

#2: Focus on AP Classes and Tests. Of all your classes, you should focus your attention on any AP’s you have. As of now, there are no changes to the AP testing schedule, meaning that even if your school is closed for an extended period of time, you’ll still need to be prepared for the AP tests in early May. Late March is typically the time when classes start to focus on AP practice tests; ESM mentors are able to provide those to you if you need them, as well as help you through the content and review that you’ll need to cover over the next two months.

#3: Devote extra time to the SAT or ACT. Although some March 14th SAT test centers have been closed -- check for updates here -- the majority of SAT’s and ACT’s throughout the spring are still scheduled as planned in most of the US and Europe. If your school is cancelled, you should take some extra time to work more on the SAT and ACT. If you’re a sophomore, this is a perfect opportunity to take a full-length diagnostic practice test and get ready for your upcoming test prep this summer and fall; if you’re a junior, you’re probably already registered for a test in March, April, May, or June, and this is a great time to devote a few extra hours of individual practice or tutoring towards those tests.

#4: Take an SAT subject test diagnostic. The one other testing opportunity that a school closure may open up for you is on the SAT subject tests. These tests are a way to show colleges your mastery on certain subjects and set yourself apart from the thousands of other applicants to a school. We often recommend that students take these tests in May or June, near the time when they finish advanced classes in school, so now is the perfect time to take a diagnostic and begin practicing for a high score.

#5: Continue research for your college list. Finally, we recommend that students (especially juniors) use this opportunity to continue the research on colleges that they have (hopefully) already started. We know that this research can be tedious and time-consuming, but it’s an important step toward making informed decisions about where to apply to college. We at ESM are, of course, available to help answer any questions around how to perform this research and help individual students decide which colleges they should be considering.  ESM mentors are prepared to help you with all of these things and more during any disruption caused by the coronavirus/Covid-19. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us directly for help! Stay safe out there -- and don’t forget to wash your hands. :)