COVID’s Effect on STE Seniors’ College Applications
COVID-19 has changed the college application process for seniors this year in a serious way. The changes range from the inability to travel and visit college campuses to college counseling sessions over Zoom to the lack of college rep visits on St. Thomas’ Episcopal’s campus.
“The biggest challenge has been trying to mitigate the extent to which COVID restrictions have altered the process. STE has been able to use technology to soften the blow of the pandemic,” said STE college counselor Nathan Barber.
Platforms like Zoom have ensured that parent meetings and college rep visits are still able to happen for seniors. As for college campus visits, STE has monitored the reopening of campuses and also directed students to virtual visits.
“I think the biggest challenge has been trying to get in contact with all the colleges. Many colleges do not have their full staff on campus so reaching the offices can be hard at times,” said senior Cristina Arguelles.
Because of COVID-19, many of STE’s seniors are facing the prospect of committing to colleges and universities whose campuses they’ve never seen in person.
“Another challenge that has been a factor for our seniors is the lack of availability of extracurricular and service opportunities due to city-wide COVID restrictions,” Nathan Barber said. There has been a drastic reduction of employment opportunities, service opportunities, club meetings, trips, and competitions for all high school students. Despite all of this, STE students have met the challenges.
“STE has prepared me education-wise to really handle the college application process. Having 13 years at STE on my application really helps my case to get in as well,” said senior Blake Faucett.
“At STE, we have always been blessed with an amazing college counselor. Our counselor Nathan Barber, who was new this year, was there for any questions we needed answered or ready with any contact we needed to get the information,” Cristina Arguelles said.
Although applying for college is different this year, one positive aspect that the pandemic has brought is the tidal wave of test optional and test blind admissions policies that have swept colleges and universities. Some colleges have even planned to extend their policies into the future. College counseling professionals believe that test optional policies will continue to rise until the end of standardized testing.
One thing that remains the same is the feeling of satisfaction, that the seniors will get as they get the letter of acceptance they’ve been hoping for.
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