College Initiatives


Stephanie Arias
Director of College Initiatives

Bianca Paiz
Director of College Initiatives

As schools take the necessary precautions amid the COVID-19 outbreak, we offer resources and guidelines that will help College Counselors stay in touch with current seniors through their college and financial aid application processes. Please refer to the Cristo Rey Network COVID-19 Response website for additional Academic, CWSP, and College Initiatives resources as your schools enter extended spring breaks and/or transition to virtual learning.

Student prioritization recommendations

What students should I prioritize? What resources are available to help me connect with them?

As far as we know, May 1st is still the deadline to enroll in most colleges, so while students and staff are working remotely, it’s important that you continue to prioritize seniors as you support them through any final applications, verification, financial aid award letters and College Counseling Surveys. Below are senior priorities and ways to support their next steps! As a reminder, many college financial aid and admission officers are still working remotely and you can reach out to them via phone or email. We’ve also included a list of high-quality tools and resources to support this below.


Student/Counselor Check-Ins

Goal: Counselors should schedule 1-2 check-ins with seniors starting now until the end of the semester. Use texting apps, email, or Google Voice to inform students of the process and schedule appointments. Use Calendly to ensure students can quickly schedule a time with you without the need to exchange many emails.


Financial Award Letter Review / Verification

Make it a goal to collect students’ financial aid award letters. Encourage students to submit letters via email, dropbox, or Google form. Make sure they make an appointment with you to review letters and issues with verification. Students can use a scanning app to turn pictures of award letters (or of any other documents) into PDFs.


Update Naviance application and decision information

Counselors should document statuses of all college applications in Naviance. This includes those who are admitted, denied, or waitlisted. Update this information when you check in with students or require them to update it themselves - please remember this is very important for your ability to benchmark and use scattergrams next fall.


Senior FERPA Waivers

While we expect school to resume well before the end of the school year, consider planning your FERPA waiver collection process. This is a great opportunity to record a “lesson” or overview on FERPA and what it means for students to waive their rights in the interest of alumni advising connections in the fall.


  • CRN FERPA Waiver Form

  • (student-facing resources coming soon)

Summer Immersion Programs for 9th-11th grades (low priority)

While we recognize that seniors and current college enrollees are a counseling team’s top priority and expect certain summer immersion programs to extend their application deadlines or even alter their program schedules, please continue to support your students’ application to summer program opportunities, an important element of their future college applications.

Note: As of 3/17 summer programming for the Georgetown SCIP program, the Marquette University Cristo Rey Leadership Academy, and the Fairfield University Scholars Prep program will occur this summer. Please check each university’s website to learn more about changes to the application and program timelines.


Looking ahead: End of Year Surveys

Surveys offer an opportunity for students to give feedback about their college application processes. Use this time to prepare for end-of-year surveys and consider your strategies to ensure whole class completion.


  • Naviance end of year survey will launch mid-April; please stay tuned.

Resources for Virtual Meetings

As seniors continue to apply to college, receive financial aid award letters, and make admissions decisions, counselors should connect with students virtually to provide support in these areas.

How can students contact me?

When you are communicating with students, make it clear when and how students can connect with you. As an example, you might be available during the morning for seniors and in the afternoon for 9th - 11th summer application support. Ensure your email and any other methods to contact you are clearly highlighted.

Counselors are encouraged to sign up for the Remind App and Google Voice. Ensure you follow your school’s student handbook for communication suggestions and requirements.

List of Colleges and Universities with rolling/flexible admissions

Listed here and here you can find lists of colleges and universities that have rolling/ flexible admissions deadlines and are still accepting applications. Please keep in mind that due to changes to campus operations all over the country, some colleges may be slow to respond. Please connect with them via email or as suggested.

University Partners with rolling/flexible admissions deadlines (last updated March 17, 2020)

  • Albion College

  • Benedictine College

  • Dominican University

  • John Carroll University

  • Loras College

  • Marquette University

  • Mount Mercy College

  • Mount Saint Joseph

  • Oklahoma City University

  • Rockhurst University

  • Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota

  • Saint Peter’s University

  • St. John Fisher College

  • University of St. Mary

  • University of St. Francis

  • Xavier University

Financial Aid Award Letters

Resources and helpful next steps for students

If the student is missing award letters from colleges. Where can they find them?

  • On their STUDENT PORTAL. Most colleges send information via email or their acceptance letters about how to log into their student portal. On the portal, there is a financial aid section where you can find and accept your financial aid.

    • If the award letter is not on the student portal, the student may still need to complete verification. Find out if the student is missing requirements in the portal. Usually the missing documents can be found under “tasks” or the “student requirements” section.

  • Award letters can be found in a student’s EMAIL (school or personal, whichever they used to communicate with the institution) OR MAIL.

Supporting Students in finalizing their College/Postsecondary Decision

What information do students need to make their post-secondary or college decision?

  1. Students should have all of their college application decisions before making a final selection.

  2. Students should have all of their award letters so that they and their family can see the cost of each option and make an informed decision about financing their post-secondary option.

  3. Students should be able to articulate HOW this college is the right fit for them by giving a detailed answer to the questions below:

    • How will this college help you meet your future educational and career goals?

    • Is this college financially sustainable for 4 years? What is your expected out-of-pocket cost per year? How much are you borrowing in federal subsidized and unsubsidized loans? How do these figures compare to other colleges?

    • What do you like most about this college and how is it different than other institutions?

    • How far away is this college from home, and how important is this proximity to your overall decision?

    • How do other underrepresented minorities typically fare at this college? What is the underrepresented minority graduation rate here? (Find this at

    • What are some challenges you might face specific to this college or post-secondary plan? How will you plan to overcome those challenges?

    • What campus resources are available to support you academically, financially, socially, and emotionally?

    • Is this college an academically ambitious option for me? Is it a match, undermatch, or overmatch?

    • Have I communicated all my response to these questions with my college counselor and my family? Do I understand all of the steps and deadlines related to enrolling in this university?

Additional Resources

College Deadlines, Closures, and Virtual Connection Opportunities

These are the lists we believe are most accurate and frequently updated.

Additional Resources for Counselors and Students

Comcast is offering two-months of free internet to new Internet Essentials customers (Effective March 16th).

Standardized Testing

The College Board has canceled the March 14 and May 2nd SAT test. As of now, students can test on June 6th pending safety and health concerns.The ACT has rescheduled the April 4th date to June 13th. All students registered for the April 4th test should receive an email helping them to reschedule for free for the June test.