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How Coronavirus Impacts Your School and College Search

by Camille M. Bertram

We are living in unprecedented times. The coronavirus will impact families, organizations, and our larger society in ways that we cannot predict. At The Bertram Group, we are closely following the fast-moving changes relating to admissions procedures for independent schools and colleges, as well as the impact on therapeutic educational environments. In this column, we offer a brief overview of the impact for students, and in the coming weeks we will bring you regular updates that pertain to each educational sphere.

Many students who recently received acceptances to boarding schools and colleges expected to use spring revisit days to inform their enrollment decisions. With those events currently unavailable, schools and colleges have been responsive in creating webinars, videos, and other ways to help students virtually reexplore a campus. Some are posting these offerings on websites and social media while others are sending them directly to admitted students. Students and families should watch emails closely to take full advantage of these opportunities. In addition, families can reach out to us to tap into a wealth of experience and an in-depth knowledge about schools. Ultimately, every student and family must make the final decision themselves, but we can help families clarify their educational priorities, answer questions about various schools and connect families directly to schools for information as needed.

For students launching a school search now—whether for a secondary school or for college—be aware that the application processes for candidates enrolling in the fall of 2021 will be unusual in many ways. Standardized test dates have been cancelled for this spring, the format for AP tests has changed, and schools are offering virtual tours to replace on-campus tours that would have transpired this spring. Our educational consultants are in constant communication with admissions professionals to track the full range and implications of these and other changes. In the coming weeks we will offer more details and explore what these shifts mean for candidates. Similarly, we are maintaining up-to-date information about impacts on therapeutic educational settings that are continuing operations because their work addresses essential health needs.

At The Bertram Group, we feel truly blessed to be connected to the fields of independent schools and higher education. Colleges and boarding and day schools nationwide showed strong leadership during this time in prioritizing the health of their students, families, and faculty. Even while closing their campuses, these institutions minimized the loss of instruction time by harnessing remote learning so that school remains in session for their students across the country and, in some cases, around the globe. This is no small feat. Faculty at schools and colleges nationwide have been learning new technologies to inspire meaningful, creative learning and to bring school communities together even when they are apart. This is a testament to the quality and dedication of educators and support staff at these institutions.

Most importantly, we recognize that this current situation creates significant stress for families, who must balance everyday household issues with larger health and financial concerns. While many questions remain unanswered, this is an important time to model core values for our children and young adults. Among those are the importance of caring for others and being hopeful about the future. This is an opportunity for students to put into practice the flexibility, problem-solving, and resilience skills that we know they will need throughout their adult lives. I am so proud to witness the many ways in which our educational community—schools, students, and families—is rising to this occasion. Every loss and every success remind us that each individual is an important part of a world that is larger than ourselves.

Stay tuned next week for more to come. And, as always, we look forward to hearing from you.


Cammie Bertram, Founder and President of The Bertram Group, is highly respected within the educational community for her dedication to helping families accomplish their educational goals. She has more than twenty-five years of experience assisting students through both traditional and therapeutic advising at junior, secondary school, and college levels. She can be reached at