SJS Seniors Share how the College Application Process has Changed
“Click the arrows to continue the tour.”
A seemingly simple phrase, but one high school seniors never thought they would have to read on websites like YouVisit, where virtual college tours are accessible.
The outbreak of COVID-19 has drastically altered the college admissions process for seniors.
This year, several colleges have reverted to test-optional policies and, for the first time, many hope to actually implement their constantly repeated “holistic approach” and consider other parts of the application in their review.
While some who still wish to submit their scores to certain schools finished taking the SAT or ACT during their junior year, others, like myself, have continued the testing process during their senior year.
Seniors have struggled to find a testing location that doesn’t cancel the test within one day of the exam (this is because the testing centers cannot exceed their maximum student occupancy due to coronavirus restrictions). Also, students are required to wear masks during the entirety of the exam, only removing them for a snack and water break.
At SJS, seniors complete weekly college counseling meetings virtually through Zoom, edit their supplements through Google Docs, and attend online webinars and special sessions hosted by schools. Everything is done on the computer.
But the hardest part about the process this year? Trying to get a true feel for a college campus through a screen.
“Because I can’t go visit schools, everything blends together for me. I guess it is nice to have the ability to go test optional since I’m not exactly a test-taker type of kid,” senior Nina Varma said.
Though this year is unlike any other, colleges have been accommodating toward current high school seniors, offering a multitude of helpful information sessions on a wide range of topics. I have attended events covering how to maintain a healthy mindset in times of stress, and how to find balance and perspective during this time.
Seniors Lauren Fulghum and Meridian Monthy are committed to embracing balance and positivity during the process.
“Going through the college admissions process during a pandemic has been - to say the least - weird,” Fulghum said. “I’ve been doing my best to stay on top of all of my due dates and deadlines, but it is definitely difficult when everyone and everything feels super disconnected.”
Monthy, on the other hand, actually had the opportunity to visit college campuses, and made a road trip out of it. While driving upwards of 20 hours to the Midwest wasn't ideal, she made the most of it.
“Although we were hindered from doing touristy things, we still found ways to experience the different cities,” she said. “From toasted ravs [ravioli] in St. Louis to deep dish pizza in Chicago, we tried to safely explore what the Midwest had to offer!”
Though unable to step foot inside the buildings on five college campuses, Monthy found the trip helpful to discern which type of campus layout she preferred.
Both Fulghum and Monthy, through virtual sessions, found it easy to identify which schools really care for their students, based on the college's response to the pandemic. The two were immediately drawn to a variety of schools where empathy and compassion for others was heavily
emphasized. Students at SJS want to know that they too will be cared for to the same degree, if they are to attend that institution.
“It’s reassuring to know that college admissions officers are looking out for us,” Fulghum said. “And that they are keeping all of the circumstances in mind during this application season.”
Want more buzz like this? Sign up for our Morning Buzz emails.
To leave a comment, please log in or create an account with The Buzz Magazines, Disqus, Facebook, Twitter or Google+. Or you may post as a guest.