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We know that things aren’t normal right now. The global outbreak of COVID-19 has affected students of all ages across the country. In an effort to keep students and communities safe, schools and universities have closed their doors and turned to online learning as a way to continue education safely through the current health crisis.

By now, you’ve likely heard the term “social distancing” mentioned when discussing prevention measures for COVID-19. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, “Social distancing is deliberately increasing the physical space between people to avoid spreading illness. Staying at least six feet away from other people lessens your chances of catching COVID-19.For most, practicing social distance means avoiding crowded public places and limiting time at social gatherings. In other words, a lot of people will be spending more time at home.

So how can you make the most of your time at home practicing social distance? We have a few ideas.

Find the right school for you

Are you planning to apply to an undergraduate or graduate program within the next year? Not sure where to start with your college search? Peterson’s College Discovery Center can help provide you with suggestions. The College Discovery Center features carefully curated lists of the top 10 schools for areas like accelerated degree programs and business schools.

And remember, Petersons.com is always open and consistently updated with new resources and blog content. Whether you’re looking for advice on crafting the perfect personal statement, or need help studying for the SAT, we’ve got you covered. 

Prepare for exams while you have the time to spare

“Although the current situation is not ideal, it’s the perfect opportunity to study for standardized tests such as the SAT, ACT, and GRE,” said Kathy Staples, Peterson’s E-Commerce Marketing Manager. “Most testing centers have closed, but that doesn’t mean you need to stop preparing for test day.”

Social distancing will require you to hunker down for the next few weeks. Consider using this time to prepare for upcoming exams. Peterson’s provides digital test prep subscriptions that allow you to study where you want, when you want. Yes, even from your couch on your phone.

Take a virtual college tour

The spring semester is a popular time for high school students to tour college campuses. If your plans to visit colleges have been put on hold, try taking a free virtual tour of the school. YouVisit virtual college tours are an easy way to experience the sights and sounds of campus from the comfort of your couch while maintaining social distance.

To begin, search for your school using Peterson’s free College Search tool. Next, click on the school you’re interested in touring. If a school has a virtual tour available, it will appear at the top of the page. A virtual campus tour guide will walk you through campus grounds, classrooms, dorm rooms, and dining halls so you can get a sense of what it’s like to be a student studying at that school.

Here’s a few schools with YouVisit virtual tours available to check out:

University of Arizona

University of California, Los Angeles

Fordham University

University of Richmond

Northcentral Technical College

For a complete list of participating schools listed by state, visit this YouVisit virtual tour blog post.

Earn college credit through CLEP or DSST exams

Did you know you can earn college credit for subject areas you’re already familiar with? Credit-by-exam programs CLEP and DSST are accepted by thousands of colleges and universities across the country. These programs are designed for independent study, which is ideal for social distancers. 

“If you’re looking to fortify your college credits, browse the available CLEP and DSST exams to see if your skills and existing knowledge align with any of the available tests. Passing a CLEP or DSST exam will enable you to earn college credit for topics you already know and save you an average of at least $900 in college tuition costs,” said Staples.

Wondering why you should take a DSST or CLEP exam? Check out the video below:

Apply for scholarships

Use your down time to search for scholarships. Application deadlines vary, so mark due dates on your calendar or planner. If you have to be home practicing social distance, you might as well spend some time writing an essay or filling out a scholarship application. Putting the time in now could wind up saving you big when it comes to tuition or other expenses.

“Whether you’re looking to offset the cost for college or grad school, our scholarship database houses over $10 billion in private aid.”

Looking for other financial aid opportunities? Peterson’s online scholarship database can help with that too.

“In addition to scholarships, students can also search and apply for grants, prizes, fellowships and forgivable loans to help fund their education.”

Set goals for the upcoming year 

“Use this time to get organized and focus on goals you’ve set for yourself in 2020. Are you achieving them? If you haven’t set yourself any goals, now’s a great time!”

Now that you’ve gotten a few ideas about how to spend your time practicing social distancing, get to it!