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COVID-19 Update and FAQs

We realize the pandemic has put more stress on students and families, and made the college admission process harder, more distant, and potentially out of reach for many qualified students. That’s why we are announcing a suite of changes to our admissions process for first-year and transfer applicants to reduce barriers for you to apply and enroll at Wheaton College.

The Wheaton application will be live on July 1, rather than in August. We know that the fall term has many demands on your time, and this year likely requires changes to how you attend and experience school. Applying earlier can relieve some of the competing priorities of the fall term. Now, you can apply throughout the summer when it may be most convenient for you! The Common Application option will still open on August 1.

We are creating additional rounds for admission consideration to reduce length of time from when you apply to when you receive a decision. We want you to have more certainty, not less, during the admission process. If you apply by our Early Action I deadline, you will receive an admission decision before Thanksgiving.

Admission RoundApplication DeadlineNotification By
Early Action I October 15 Thanksgiving
Early Action II November 15 Christmas
Regular Decision I January 15 March 1
Regular Decision II February 15 April 1

On June 16, 2020, we officially became test-optional by removing the standardized test score requirements for first-year and transfer students applying for admission for Spring 2021, Fall 2021, and Spring 2022 entry. You can read the full press release here. You will now have the option to be considered for admission and merit scholarships without submitting standardized test scores.

As an explicitly Christian liberal arts college, each successful applicant demonstrates maturing Christian faith in their personal essays and through an outside recommendation from a Christian leader. But after months of limited in-person church and ministry gatherings due to the pandemic, obtaining an outside recommendation can prove to be a barrier for some applicants. You will now be able to satisfy the Christian Faith Reference requirement in either one of two ways:

  1. Submit a Christian Mentor recommendation letter from a pastor, youth leader, or Christian mentor (non-family members) OR
  2. Interview by video or phone call with an Admissions Counselor and share more about your Christian faith.

Wheaton College will be hosting limited numbers of prospective undergraudate students for on-campus visits with safety and health protocols in place beginning Monday, August 3. Until then, we invite you to sign up for a Journey to Wheaton session, where you’ll connect with an admissions counselor and get a taste of what Wheaton is like. Then, watch our Video Tours of campus at your own pace. Filmed prior to the pandemic, they will give you a taste of what's in store for you when you see campus for yourself.

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FAQs for Fall 2020 Admitted Students and Prospective Students

We are planning for a safe opening for every student in August for our on-campus orientation and classes, but like all schools we are preparing for any and all contingencies. Rest assured many gifted and dedicated people are at the forefront making good decisions as we prepare for students’ arrival in the fall.

This FAQ page is related to policies and information relevant to admitted and prospective undergraduate students. We will do our best to provide updates to this page as they become available.

Please continue to follow Wheaton College's COVID-19 webpage for regular, institutional updates.

Will Wheaton consider distance learning in the fall if the pandemic continues?

We are planning for a safe and on-time opening for every student in August for our on-campus orientation and classes, but like all schools we are preparing for any and all contingencies.

Has Wheaton College adjusted the deadline for Fall 2020 admitted students to accept their offer of admission?

While many students have already committed to enrolling at Wheaton, in response to student and parent feedback during these uncertain times, Wheaton College has extended its deposit deadline to June 1. Admitted students can confirm their enrollment at choose.wheaton.edu.

Will my $300 advance tuition deposit be refundable?

All advance tuition deposits are refundable through June 1. To request an advance tuition deposit refund, email admissions@wheaton.edu.

I had hoped to visit campus this spring to finalize my college decision. Are there virtual visit options for me to help me know if Wheaton is the right fit?

Yes! Through the spring we are hosting virtual Admitted Student Receptions, Parent Receptions, and Academic Receptions to help you see yourself at Wheaton. You can sign up for any of these receptions here. Then, watch our Video Tours of campus at your own pace. Filmed prior to the pandemic, they will give you a taste of what's in store for you when you see campus for yourself.

Will I be required to submit a final high school transcript?

Yes, we will require final high school transcripts that include a graduation date and signature of a school official for enrolled students. We encourage students to request a transcript be sent to us at the safest and most convenient time prior to the first day of classes in the fall. Spring course registration may be delayed if a final high school transcript is not provided, though we will work with individual students who cannot make this deadline.

Will you honor admission offers for international students and those living abroad regardless of current travel restrictions?

Yes. We hope and pray that every student we have admitted to Wheaton College will choose to enroll here. An offer of admission to Wheaton College will continue continue to be honored for all students through the June 1 deadline. All deposited students will have their place honored through the start of the fall semester.

Will early course registration or summer programming (such as Wheaton Passage and New Student Orientation) will be offered?

Course registration deadlines and the dates and programming for instructions and New Student Orientation have not been changed at this time. Should they change, we will alert deposited students via their my.wheaton.edu email addresses with more information. To claim your student account and my.wheaton.edu email address, follow these instructions. Wheaton Passage has been cancelled for Fall 2020. For more information, visit wheaton.edu/passage.

I’m not sure if I’ll be able to take my Advanced Placement (AP)/International Baccalaureate (IB) test for advanced credit consideration despite taking AP courses this year. Will I be unable to earn advanced credit?

Wheaton College is committed to providing credit for AP and IB courses, even if students are not able to take exams. IB has already cancelled its exams and is working on a grade reporting process to colleges. College Board is planning for AP exams to be offered securely online where possible. For any student who is unable to take an AP exam, the grade listed on their high school transcript for the course will be correlated to exam scores in order to give credit: A=5, B=4 and C=3. We will accept the validation IB develops for its college partners. Students with dual enrollment courses need to send a final college transcript to the Wheaton College Undergraduate Admissions Office as soon as all grades are entered.

My family’s financial situation has changed dramatically due to the COVID-19 crisis. Is additional financial aid available to help me enroll at Wheaton?

If you have not yet submitted your FAFSA to Wheaton College, we strongly recommend you do so to be considered for the fullest financial aid package available to you. Students whose 2020 financial situation is dramatically different than 2018 (which is what the FAFSA bases expected family contribution upon) can request an appeal of their financial aid by contacting Student Financial Services at sfs@wheaton.edu.

Is it possible to defer enrollment for one semester or one year? And if granted a deferral, what are your policies regarding taking college credits and financial aid?

Admitted students have the option to submit a deferral request for enrolling one or two semesters after the term they have been admitted (e.g., admitted for Fall 2020, can request to defer enrollment to Spring 2020 or Fall 2021). A deferral request should only be made for students who do not intend to enroll for the term they were admitted to. We encourage students and families to continue to plan to attend college in-person for the Fall semester, as Wheaton is preparing for an on-time, in-person start to the Fall 2020 semester. We will allow students to defer their enrollment to a future academic term up until the start of Fall classes if due to COVID-19 reasons.

Students granted a deferral request to a future academic term may take up to four (4) college credits per academic term. If a student enrolls full time at another college, they should cancel their acceptance offer to Wheaton and reapply as a transfer student for their desired entry term. Previously admitted students are given preference when applying for transfer admission, and should apply using our free, shorter Supplementary Application for admission consideration.

As has been our longstanding policy, financial aid packages do not defer with your admission offer. Financial aid, including merit scholarships and need-based grant aid, are dependent upon the offerings available for that academic term. Admitted students who defer their admission will have their applications re-evaluated for merit scholarships and need-based financial aid will be offered based upon the most current FAFSA and aid policies for that academic term.

Updated: April 10, 2020

Q: Will students arriving in the U.S. from international locations be required to self-quarantine for 14 days prior to participating in orientation/on-campus activities?

A: CDC guidance currently advises that travelers arriving in the U.S. from international locations must self-quarantine and monitor their health for 14 days. Until the CDC guidelines change, students should plan their travel and arrival to the U.S. accordingly. Students may self-quarantine in off-campus housing, with family/friends, or request campus housing for this purpose. 

Q: What housing and dining resources will the College offer students who need to self-quarantine for 14 days upon arriving in the U.S.? 

A: Students who plan to live in campus housing for the fall semester and are arriving from an international location, may request early move-in to campus housing to complete the 14 days of self-quarantine. Students may also choose to self-quarantine in off-campus housing or with friends/family. On June 26th, international students will be emailed the form to request campus quarantine housing, if needed.  

Students planning to participate in New Student Orientation should arrive by August 5th if needing to self-quarantine. Student leaders arriving early for training should arrive by July 28th. Returning students should arrive by August 12th to complete self-quarantine prior to the first day of classes. 

Students will have the option to request meals delivered to them, at a cost, while in self-quarantine (recommended for new students). The cost of meals for 14 days will be approximately $450. While completing the quarantine housing application form, students may opt-out of the meal delivery service if they prefer to coordinate their meals on their own. More information will be available in the June 26th email. 

Q: I already bought my ticket and now am learning that I have to self-quarantine. Should I change my ticket to arrive earlier?

A: Each student and family will need to decide what is best in this situation. Until the CDC guidelines change, students arriving from international locations must complete the 14 days of self-quarantine prior to participating in-person for campus activities and classes. If you cannot arrive 14 days early, you can still begin the fall semester during your self-quarantine period in the U.S. by participating virtually in orientation programs and classes.

Q: What housing and dining resources will be available if Wheaton College has to change mid-semester to fully online classes due to a second wave of Covid-19?

A: Wheaton College remains committed to its international students and understands the unique needs in this situation. Similar to March 2020, international students will have authorization to remain in campus housing until the end of the fall semester. The College will also aim to continue providing food via student meal plans until these end on November 20th. Undergraduate international students who need housing during Christmas break (December 18th, 2020 to January 9th, 2021) will be able to request to stay on campus if they cannot return home. Between November 20th and January 9th, students staying on campus will be responsible for the cost and preparation of their meals. 

Q: How safe is it for me to return to the U.S.? My family is concerned about how the U.S. is responding to Covid-19 and news outlets in my country have shown videos of violent protests in Chicago and other major cities. 

A: Your concerns about safety are understandable. Students and families can monitor the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Restore Illinois websites to learn how our national and local governments are responding to Covid-19 and to view the guidelines Wheaton College is using to plan for the fall semester. 

We also understand the concern about the protests in the U.S. related to a nation-wide call for justice and equal treatment for all people in the country. While there has been violence related to the protests, it is important to note that the majority of national protests, and all the protests in the Wheaton area, have been peaceful, respectful, and prayerful. Wheaton College remains committed to the safety of students studying and living as part of our community.

Q: If I stay outside of the U.S. for the fall semester, will I need to participate in classes synchronously (CST timezone) or will there be an option to participate asynchronously (my timezone)?

A: Wheaton College faculty will work with students to provide quality, remote learning experiences. As noted in President Ryken’s June 5th email, students who plan to enroll remotely will be required to have a video consultation with an academic advisor to review the student needs and assess if the student can be successful in their expected course schedule. Please report your plans to study remotely using the short fall student survey to request a video consultation and learn more. 

Q: How will the College ensure that F-1 visa students can participate in the adapted in-person fall semester in compliance with the government regulations that limit online/remote learning for visa students in the US?

A: Similar to the spring and summer semesters, Wheaton College will use SEVP guidelines to ensure visa students who return to campus for the fall 2020 semester are enrolled in a program of study compliant with all regulations. The campus DSO team will work with the Academic leadership team if SEVP issues new guidelines and notify students accordingly.

Additional answers specific to F-1 visa students are found on the F-1 Visa Covid-19 FAQs Fall 2020 website. The DSO team will also regularly send updates to F-1 visa students via their college email.

I had hoped to visit campus this spring to learn more about Wheaton. Are there virtual visit options for me until I can visit when it is safe to do so?

We look forward to hosting you on campus as soon as it is safe to do so! Until then, we invite you to sign up for a Journey to Wheaton virtual visit, where you’ll connect with an admissions counselor and get a taste of what Wheaton is like. Then, watch our Video Tours of campus at your own pace. Filmed prior to the pandemic, they will give you a taste of what's in store for you when you see campus for yourself.

We intend to host individual visits to campus with safety and health protocols in place in August.

The ACT and SAT test I planned to take at my school or this spring has been cancelled. What is Wheaton’s testing requirements for admission, and how can I satisfy them?

To ease challenges current high school students face amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Wheaton College is suspending the standardized test score requirement for Spring 2021, Fall 2021, and Spring 2022 admission. Students will now have the option to be considered for admission without submitting standardized test scores during this period. Read our full announcement here.

My high school or college isn’t sure how it will grade this first semester of distance learning. If my institution decides to grade pass/fail for the Spring 2020 semester, will that affect my consideration for admission to Wheaton?

We value the diversity of schooling options in each class. Wheaton enrolls students from public schools, Christian schools, charter schools, private schools, home schools, international schools, community colleges, and four-year universities each year. We recognize the distinct challenges students and institutions face this semester and will review your transcript considering the educational opportunities available to you at your high school or college and the choices your institution makes with respect to grading.

Updated: June 17, 2020