@Home? Things you can do Now!

  • Alma_Matters
  • 31 Mar, 2020

Turning Lemons into Lemonade

By Alma_Matters

March 29, 2020


Hope you are all staying safe.

COVID-19 has changed all our lives. Our movements are limited. We are all anxious and under a lot of stress. While we don't have a magic wand to change this situation, we want to help navigate yours. We have compiled ideas and resources for these times, to propel you forward in the college process. We will keep this page updated.

A couple of observations and then the suggestions.



I. We have more time.  One of the consequences of the shutdown is that everyones' daily lives has taken a pause, their daily routines restructured. Folks who would normally may be "too busy" or even unwilling to give you time of day, may have more time on their hands, and more importantly have the inclination to respond and be helpful. 

This is a huge opportunity to reach out.

  • Think counselors, college students, alumni of your favorite colleges, test prep consultants etc. 
  • Think business owners, social organizations, startups, news outlets, etc.

In other words, access to experts and people with experience may be unprecedented. Take advantage of it.


II. Bargains. The second blessing is that there are lots of deals around. Resources that you may have to pay for, may be free for use for now. Additionally, they may be willing to work with you than before. 

Specifically look for opportunities to access content free, online courses, test prep, pre-college summer programs.


Our Suggestions

1. Volunteer - Opportunity to make a difference in your community at this time. For example,

  • The elderly, the vulnerable could use your help shopping for essentials, checking up on them regularly 
  • Health or social organizations that could use your assistance with, for example coordination, monitoring or tracking.

2. Learn - Free online courses. 

  • US Colleges and number of online platforms offer high quality courses. Explore the web and hopefully you will courses that interest you.
  • Free coding classes - e.g., Amazon's CoderZ
  • We will also try to put together a list for you. Stay Tuned!

3. Research/study US colleges - In the current situation, you can afford the luxury of taking your time to explore and study the colleges in the US in detail. The following avenues are recommended:

  • Tool - You can research about 200 US Colleges that admit the most International Students.  Sign in with your email id as name and password to access the College List Tool on My Page on Alma Matters. Then follow the guidance and steps outlined. 
  • Community of Students - Another effective way of researching a college is by asking questions of students currently studying in these colleges. Ask the Alma Matters community. Remember they too they have time now.

4. Projects - Given the grind of daily life, it is not often that you have blocks of time available to bend to your will. This is indeed a rare opportunity to pursue creative projects that require inspiration or experimentation. So, depending on your skills, interest and drive here are some initiative worth considering:

  • Writing, Arts. If you have the talent to write, or paint, or have a cause you want to highlight/promote or have other means of expressing yourself - this could be a very rewarding time to accomplish this. Some of the best writings came from the prison when Gandhi, Nehru, Madela put their time jail to reflect and express their thoughts and philosophies.
  • Creating/building things - software product/widget, e.g., community-based support network for COVID-19 patients and family, doing things that make a difference.
  • Build your resume by offering free help companies devastated by the pandemic. When their prospects improve, they may want to hire you as an intern.

5. Plan your Summer - Programs or Summer jobs

  • Pre-College Programs - We have compiled a list that you can start looking at. Some of these will probably move to an online program;
  • Summer Jobs/internships - explore in your areas as well as your online communities. See suggestions in #4 above as well.

6. 11th Graders - Work on creative material for US College Apps - the US College applications have a significant parts that require a lot of creativity, iterations, and time to do a great job. To wit:

  • Picking an essay topic - We talked about people having time and inclination now than they do when they are caught up in their daily routines. So, find folks to brainstorm with you on this. I am happy to give you time to brainstorm essay topics. Send an email and I am willing to set up a time with you to talk.

Hope you find one or more suggestions helpful and then act on them.

Good Luck and Stay Safe.


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