College applications during pandemic

by Haris Kalam, Reporter

College application season has arrived; the time of the year filled with thousands of stressed kids embarking on the journey of taking the step from high school to college. Typically, during the college application season students have plenty of resources to guide them through the enduring process of college admissions. However, this year in particular students are posed with a particular challenge. 

Due to COVID-19 regular campus visits and outreach events from colleges are basically unavailable. Seniors and others applying to college miss out on an opportunity to get a grasp of the college environment.

“Because of COVID I was not able to really visit any of the campuses, so I actually don’t have any idea what they look like, what the dorms situation is, living situation or even just the environment,” senior Zain Naved said. 

Another factor is standardized testing, such as the SAT and ACT. These assessments held a prominent role in the application process; however, this year many colleges have altered their admissions processes to make standardized test score reporting optional for students applying. This led to students having to change their plans for college applications. 

“It was weird that some colleges were not asking for SAT or other tests like that because I took my SAT last year,” senior Brooke Humphrey said. 

Another effect is that there has been a lack of resources that students would typically receive, for example teacher recommendations and counselor recommendations have been harder to get.  

“It [gathering resources] was a lot harder than it would normally be because I could not just ask people for help directly, instead I had to ask my older brother or friends I knew for help,” Humphrey said. “I did not have the resources [past seniors] had when they applied in the previous years.” 

Asking for recommendation letters through email seems to not be effective either because it poses a communication barrier. 

“It is kind of hard asking for teacher recommendations over email, some have not even emailed me back,” Naved said. ”It’s better to ask in person but COVID is making that hard.” 

With COVID-19 cases continually rising the possibility of this altered college application season may recur in the upcoming years. However students are still grateful for the opportunity to be able to apply to college and the help they are receiving.

“I am glad that colleges understand what we are going through, like they made the SAT optional this year,” Naved said. “I’m just grateful for this opportunity.”

Courtesy of Pixabay