COVID-19 Update

One-on-One is fully operational and we are grateful to be here–with both our ‘parent’ and ‘educational consultant’ hats on–to help families navigate this unprecedented time. 

We created this page to provide students and parents with college admissions resources and strategies in this rapidly changing public health environment. 

We are working remotely via Zoom video meetings with our clients until it is safe to resume in-person sessions. 

Watch video messages from our Founder, Kim Penney

New office hours announcement

COVID-19 Response

Introducing Our New Office Hours Series

As we experience a fundamental change in the way we connect, learn, and work, One-on-One has launched a new ‘Office Hours’ series to give clients an opportunity to come together via Zoom once a week, learn about the latest college admissions updates, and share collective strategies for making the most of our current situation. Registration information will be sent to clients in our comprehensive packages. 

Colleges’ Plans for Fall 2020:

Please reference The Chronicle of Higher Education’s tracking site with colleges’ latest plans and announcements for the fall 2020 semester.

Standardized Testing

The list of colleges/universities adopting test optional policies for at least the 2021 graduation class includes the eight Ivy League schools, the University of California system, Tufts University, Amherst College, Williams College, Northeastern University, Boston University, Case Western Reserve University, and many more. For an up-to-date list of test optional colleges, please visit:

The CollegeBoard has announced a new, additional SAT administration on September 26, 2020

The ACT will hold several additional testing dates in September and October.

Both the ACT and the SAT are working on solutions for providing digital, at-home tests for the fall/winter, but many question remain on access, security, and validity.

Check the following links for the most updated information: 

⇒Our Recommendation: Take advantage of the free, online proctored practice ACT and SAT tests that many test prep companies are offering. Students can compare their scores and spend their time preparing for the test that best suits them. 

College Visits

Demonstrated interest has always played a role in the admissions process when colleges try to predict which students will choose to attend their school if accepted. Without the ability to visit campuses in person, the digital space becomes much more important–both for prospective students trying to understand ‘fit’ and admissions officers tracking interest.

⇒Our Recommendations:

  • Carve out an hour a day to attend virtual tours – is a great site to explore!
  • Visit colleges’ admissions sites directly. Colleges are investing heavily right now in enhancing their own virtual tour and information session technology on their websites (e.g. check out Harvard’s new site and Providence College’s new daily virtual information sessions). 
  • Take advantage of opportunities to connect virtually with panels of admissions officers. The following organizations are hosting online college fairs:
  • Research faculty bios and contact professors who interest you to set up a phone call or video conference. Colleges are moving towards making faculty, students, and admissions staff more accessible than ever.
  • Engage digitally with the colleges’ admissions offices by (a) signing up for the admissions mailing list and (b) opening the emails they receive (yes–email engagement is tracked!). 
  • Follow colleges of interest on social media platforms. Even better–follow student-led organizations at that college to get a sense of what students are talking about on social media. 
  • Review all personal social media accounts to make sure they are appropriate.
  • Read student newspapers online.
  • Talk with friends or acquaintances who attend colleges that interest them. If that is not an option, check out student review sites like And, as with any crowdsourced site, take comments with a grain of salt. 

⇒Our Recommendations for Student-Athletes:

  • Film skills videos and send them to the college coaches on your list.
  • Stay connected–some college coaches are hosting video meetings with their teams for prospective athletes.
  • Stay in shape!

High School Coursework

College admissions officers understand that there is a major shift in the way high school students are taking classes and receiving grades during the pandemic. Applications will be considered within the context of how COVID-19 has changed the nature of high school itself–especially with the introduction of pass/fail grading systems and potentially altered content areas. 

⇒Our Recommendations:

  • Consider supplementing your coursework with virtual learning tools. Class Central is a great resource and search engine for finding free online courses that may interest you.
  • Reach out to your teachers (if they are available). It is important to continue building relationships with those who will write your recommendations this fall. In a distance learning environment, it takes more effort to keep communication going. 

Financial Aid

We anticipate that the economic impact of COVID-19 will be felt in financial aid offices. Parents whose financial situations have changed since they submitted their FAFSA/CSS Profile are encouraged to reach out to financial aid offices to provide an update and find out if additional funding is available. 

⇒Our Recommendation: Stay tuned for more information about an upcoming virtual event we’ll be hosting for our clients with a financial aid expert. 

How To Maintain Structure and Productivity 

Extracurricular activities and summer programs will look very different on college applications this fall across the board. That does not mean that you cannot build your resume in this environment–in fact, now is the time to re-think your time outside of the (virtual) classroom. 

⇒Our Recommendations:

  • Pursue a genuine interest; pick up a new hobby; read for fun(!); launch a blog; lean into family responsibilities; invent, create, and develop a portfolio of authentic work products. 
  • Get ideas for joining and creating service projects via Youth Service America.
  • Set up informational interviews and video conferences with someone who works in a field that interests you. 
  • Stay active and healthy while social distancing – check out this low-impact workout you can do at home.
  • Start working on your application materials now so that you have more time to visit and research colleges in the fall. Use your time to craft a really strong activity sheet and college essay!

We are in this together, and look forward to helping you chart a path forward. If you have any questions, contact us.