COVID-19 alters college application process for high school seniors

Lily Klau '23, Staff Writer

Everyone knows the infamous college application process: students take their SAT and ACTs, meet with college representatives, visit all prospective colleges and then make their decision. But for high school seniors during the global pandemic, this process looks a little different.

COVID-19 has brought many challenges to the world, many interfering with the college application processes; several colleges have begun to reconstruct the admission processes that they have had in place for many years. With one of the more striking changes being that many schools are going test-optional, meaning the SAT and ACT are optional or not accepted at all, hundreds of tests were canceled over this quarantine.

“When colleges know that students aren’t able to access the test,” William Plunkett, director of guidance, said, “they recognize, for the most part, it’s really unfair to hold them accountable to take them and to in some ways penalize a student if they haven’t had a chance to take a test.” 

During this pandemic, the opportunities for visiting prospective colleges have also been taken away from the seniors. This has given colleges a lot of room to grow their online social platform. 

“Colleges have done a really good job of advertising their schools,” Eden Miller ’21 said.  “They use Instagram a lot more to get across information, they’ve made these virtual tours and information sessions for prospective students, which has been really nice.”  

Graphic by Lily Klau ’23

While colleges have been growing their online platforms, this decision is still a difficult one to make. 

“It’s hard to get a feel of a school from a video […] I went to a couple of schools and I was like ‘oh I really just don’t like the way it is here, I don’t like the vibe, I don’t like love the kids,’ ” Ella Moskowitz ’21 said, “and I don’t think I would have been able to get that from a virtual tour. So, it’s definitely harder to get the vibe of a campus and see what you like.”

Regardless of students’ feelings towards the situation, this experience has taught students many important life lessons that they wouldn’t have learned otherwise.   

“Life is very unpredictable and you have to acclimate to what is handed to you,” Miller said, “and I think it is important to recognize that this pandemic has given everyone a new outlook on life, and how it can just throw challenges and obstacles at you, and you have to be able to overcome them.”