Education expert: High School juniors most impacted by school closures

Pennsylvania

Normally around this time, juniors are preparing for college by campus visits, taking the SATs and AP tests and padding applications with extracurricular activities

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Governor Tom Wolf announced on Thursday that all schools will remain closed for the rest of the academic year.

A month ago, it would have been hard to imagine that March 13 was the last day Pennsylvania students would step foot in their classrooms. It’s going to be an adjustment for everybody, but it’s high school juniors that have an education expert the most concerned.

“They’re really worried about what their transcript is going to look like for second semester junior year — which is a very important semester,” said Dr. Peggy Jennings, a certified educational planner.

Normally around this time, juniors are preparing for college by campus visits, taking the SATs and AP tests and padding applications with extracurricular activities. Now, they will need to find their own path in unprecedented circumstances.

“It was a critical step for us to take to protect as many people as possible. It was not an easy decision to make,” Wolf said.

The good news is every junior in the country is going through the same situation and colleges have been lenient, according to Jennings.

“Without a doubt, every one of them is saying, ‘we understand. We will make arrangements. We will make accommodations,” Jennings said.

Many campuses have virtual tours and even faculty video chats — something that was very uncommon in normal circumstances.

“I’ve been encouraging all my students to go to the websites of the colleges they’re interested in to see what opportunities are available,” Jennings said.

Jennings sources tell her that students will be asked what they did with their free time during the quarantine on the common application for colleges. She suggests pursuing purposeful projects that show growth.

“It doesn’t have to be like — curing cancer or something like that. It really doesn’t, but if they always wanted to learn how to knit — teach yourself how to knit,” Jennings said.

“This virus has not stopped you from helping your children to safely learn, grow and know they’re cared about every single day,” Wolf said.

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