March 24 — 8:30 am, 2020

Supporting college prep during the coronavirus crisis

We don’t know when things will return to normal, but for now, students can focus on scholarship applications and test prep.

Melissa Rowe

Just last week, many high school juniors and seniors were talking about class trips and outfits for prom and looking forward to graduation. A lot has changed since the United States has implemented social distancing and quarantines as measures of public safety, trying to limit the impact of the novel coronavirus.

We are checking in and conferencing with Capture Greatness students in Temple University’s Upward Bound Program by phone and video chat. Although most report feeling bored and missing their friends, some are expressing that they are concerned that missing school and time in their college access programs will have a negative impact on their future.

With students learning from home, they are missing more than face-to-face instruction with teachers. They miss out on meetings with their counselors, SAT prep classes, and college advising from the professionals who support them. Although it is impossible to give students the same level of support, we can point them to resources to help them navigate life after high school.

As much as we are focused on the moment, it’s important to understand that our students are stressed about life after COVID-19. In light of our current environment, students need the adults in their lives to help them find success in the midst of this pandemic. The District has thousands of students nearing the end of high school. Let’s not let them slip through the cracks.

Right now, top-priority items for high school juniors and seniors should be standardized-test prep and scholarship attainment.


High school seniors who are going to college in the fall should spend at least an hour every day researching and submitting scholarship applications. Many families and students are already experiencing interruptions in their income. To help ease the financial load of paying for college, seniors can use this time to apply for college scholarships.

Here is a list of scholarships that are available for area students:

Philadelphia Foundation Scholarships – Multiple scholarships; various deadlines

Leon H. Sullivan Charitable Trust STEP-Up Scholarship – Deadline (extended): April 30, 2020

Urquhart Memorial Foundation Scholarship – Deadline: March 31, 2020

Wilt Chamberlain Memorial Fund Scholarship – Deadline (extended): May 12, 2020

Anne Garrott Leadership Scholarship – Deadline: Mid-April, 2020

Dunkin’ Donuts Scholarship – Deadline: April 15, 2020

Beech Scholarship Fund – Deadline: April 17, 2020

Last Dollar Scholarship – Opens April 1, 2020

For high-achieving juniors, Questbridge is an excellent scholarship program. It helps students from low-income households gain admission to some of the nation’s top colleges and universities, with a four-year, full-tuition scholarship.

Test prep

Both SAT and ACT have cancelled their March, April, and May tests. The testing agencies still have June test dates scheduled and will issue a refund for students who registered for the cancelled tests. Although there is no word yet on when these tests will be rescheduled, juniors can take advantage of the additional time to study and take practice tests. The organizations’ websites, and, offer free test-prep resources for students.

Parents and educators can support students by helping them create daily schedules that include schoolwork and college prep. Virtual check-ins and meetings with friends can also keep their morale up and provide accountability buddies. Now is the time for action. We don’t know when things will return to normal, but when they do, our students have college applications and college tuition on the horizon.

Melissa A. Rowe, M.Ed., is the founder of Capture Greatness! – Scholarship & College Coaching. Capture Greatness has helped students earn more than $3.5 million in scholarships for college. Find free resources at


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