Michelle Cloutier shares how the admission team has pivoted to connecting virtually with prospective students and their families.
Bryant University Vice President of Enrollment Management Michelle Cloutier shares insights on the challenging circumstances high school seniors are facing as they apply to college, and how Bryant is helping students and families navigate this uncharted territory.
Navigating the college search process in challenging times
Nov 19, 2020, by Staff Writer

In this unprecedented year for education in the U.S. and around the world, many high school seniors are facing unique challenges—both personally and academically—as they finish high school and make important decisions about college. Bryant University Vice President of Enrollment Management Michelle Cloutier answers some frequently asked questions about the challenges of applying to college during the pandemic, and how Bryant is helping students and families navigate this uncharted territory.

We are committed to helping students navigate the Admission process and get the personalized guidance they need based on their unique circumstances, and we encourage students to reach out with their questions and concerns.

What are you finding to be the biggest challenges for students choosing a college? How is Bryant helping students and families navigate these uncertain times?

We are living in an unprecedented time that has affected all aspects of our lives. For high school seniors, COVID-19 has caused major disruption to the last year in high school and their entire college search process. This past spring and summer, prospective students and their families have had very limited opportunities to visit campuses and get a feel for colleges and universities. They have had to adapt to completely new circumstances that are continually changing based on how states, high schools, and colleges are responding to the pandemic.

We understand these challenges and have been working diligently to communicate with students and to create experiences that allow students to not only experience our vibrant 428-acre safe, suburban campus, but also to engage with our collegial and purposeful community—one of the best things about Bryant. We are committed to helping students navigate the Admission process and get the personalized guidance they need based on their unique circumstances, and we encourage students to reach out with their questions and concerns.

What sets Bryant’s approach to the Admission process apart?

The Admission process at Bryant is unique to each student. The process we use to evaluate a candidates’ credentials is thorough and allows our Admission committee to focus on the many things a student has achieved, the activities they’ve  participated in throughout high school, and the things that make each student truly unique. This student-centered approach guides everything we do. A dedicated Bryant Admission Counselor is always available to answer questions and provide one-on-one guidance for the college search and application process. Student’s can find their Admission counselor at bryant.edu/counselor.

What steps has Bryant taken to accommodate applicants in this unique time?

We recognize that most high school seniors have been focused on adjusting to different ways of learning and keeping up with their studies, and that they may need more time and flexibility with their college applications. With that understanding, we’ve extended our Early Action application deadline from November 15 to December 1. Early Decision II is January 15, and Regular Decision is February 1. More information on applying is available at bryant.edu/applying-to-bryant.

We have also created opportunities for students to engage with our Admission team for interviews, informational conversations and questions, in-person and virtual tours, and information sessions. We encourage all students to reach out for assistance and consideration of their individual circumstances. More information on all of the available resources can be found at explore.bryant.edu.  

The most important thing you can do is to get in touch with us as soon as possible about your circumstances.

I’d like to apply to Bryant but have had some academic challenges in my senior year because of COVID-19, what can I do?

The most important thing you can do is to get in touch with us as soon as possible about your circumstances. Connect with your Admission Counselor via phone, email, or Zoom. You can also write about your situation in your personal statement or address it in a separate letter in your application. More information and contact information is available at admission.bryant.edu

Is Bryant Test Optional? Will choosing this option negatively impact my application?

At Bryant, we offer an education—and an Admission process—that’s focused on the whole person. We believe your academic abilities and talents are reflected in many ways. That’s why we’ve been Test Optional for more than a decade. Our Test Optional policy gives you the opportunity to show your unique strengths and why you’re a great fit for Bryant. Your application will be given the same level of consideration whether you choose to submit SAT/ACT test scores or Test Optional. And, if you elect to Test Optional and subsequently receive their test scores to be considered, we can make that happen. Where to start? Simply reach out to your Admission counselor, or email or call the Office of Admission.

What other factors do you consider when reviewing an application?

When reviewing applications, we look at more than GPAs and test scores. We consider the courses you’ve taken and the activities you are involved in, both at school and in your community. Through your Admission interview and personal statement, we get to know your aspirations and your personality, and learn about your character through your recommendations.  It’s a holistic approach that goes far beyond statistics.

I want to see what Bryant is like, how can I safely learn more about the campus? Am I able to visit?

Yes! We offer several types of tour experiences including self-guided in-person campus tours, virtual tours, information sessions, live student panels on a variety of topics, as well as opportunities to experience a class. All of the information on these options is available at explore.bryant.edu.

Where can international students find information and get help?

We have special Admission counselors who understand the intricacies of the international admission process and are able to work directly with international students who are earning their high school degree outside of the United States. More information is available at bryant.edu/international-students.

The pandemic has posed some financial challenges for my family. Where can I go with questions about financial aid?

We have a number of resources students can take advantage of to help make a Bryant education possible. Every student is automatically considered for merit scholarships at the time of Admission, and U.S. citizens are eligible for federal need-based aid when they complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form available at https://fafsa.ed.gov.  You can also reach out to our Bryant Undergraduate Financial Aid Counselors who will answer your questions and discuss options with you at bryant.edu/financial-aid-and-tuition.

With so much changing in the world around us, are there any special considerations for students hoping to transfer to Bryant?

Bryant is a transfer-friendly school. When you are accepted to Bryant as a transfer student, your offer of admission will be accompanied by your college-credit evaluation so you will know exactly what classes you will need to take in order to complete your degree.  Because of the difficulties posed by COVID-19, we also recognize that you may have elected to take a Pass/Fail grade as your courses quickly transitioned from in-person to on-line. You will be eligible to earn credit at Bryant for those courses in which you earned a “Pass.”

Having successfully completed a full in-person fall semester, we plan to stay “Bryant Strong” and continue to deliver our high-quality, student-centered Bryant education in the spring. 

What is Bryant doing to help current students get the highest quality education possible with the current challenges posed by COVID-19?

Under very challenging conditions, we have had a strong semester on campus with active learning and enriching student life programs. Bryant invested more than $500K in new hybrid classroom technology to deliver HyFlex student-centered instruction. Faculty were trained to make the most of this new technology and reimagine teaching and learning to meet students’ needs. In addition, the University invested more than $3 million to implement best practices for safety protocols and aggressive testing that kept our community healthy.

Every member of the community—students, faculty, and staff—did their part to keep the campus safe. This success is in large part due to a longstanding close-knit community and culture of shared purpose that predated the pandemic and has become stronger because of it. 

Having successfully completed a full in-person fall semester, we plan to stay “Bryant Strong” and continue to deliver our high-quality, student-centered Bryant education in the spring. Learn more about our spring semester here: https://news.bryant.edu/bryant-university-announces-plans-winter-session-spring-2021-academic-terms

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