by ELLA TODD '21
A lot has changed in our world since the emergence of Coronavirus, as we have taken to wearing masks and social distancing. There is a general atmosphere of uncertainty as our society wonders when will this pandemic end, with high school seniors specifically worried about the modified college admission process. Colleges have adopted many new policies in order to adapt to these ever-evolving circumstances, yet these plans are not always beneficial to upperclassmen.
One of the most prominent changes has been the majority of universities going test-optional, meaning that they will no longer require applicants to supply their ACT or SAT scores. This alteration is due to many tests being cancelled or rescheduled due to social distancing guidelines.
Alexandra Selva ‘21 states that, similar to thousands of students across the United States, “I was depending on having good test scores as a part of my application.” Now these seniors must attempt to find available testing sites or decide not to include scores in their application.
However, Mrs. Roman, SUA’s Director of Counseling, reminds us that a test optional policy has its advantages as students can continue to highlight “the hard work they have put into their academic coursework and the impact they have made at SUA and their communities through their activities, service, athletics, creativity, and leadership." These are all ways that you can stand out amongst other candidates as well as in personal essays.
In fact, a new short-answer question has been added to the Common Application asking students to share how Covid-19 has impacted them. This space will allow colleges to have a better understanding of how Coronavirus has impacted each individual’s extracurriculars, grades, and overall circumstances.
Another difference this year has been the inability to visit college campuses and attend official tours. “Being able to visit colleges in person gives you a feel for the campus that is hard to imitate online,” Adreanna Oelrich ‘21 confesses. There is truly no way to correct this predicament, yet there are still virtual tours and information sessions that students can attend to learn specifics about each university.
These new circumstances will likely have lasting impacts upon the college process in years to come. Many schools have begun to note the biases in standardized tests and are considering permanently removing them. This change could be interpreted differently depending on the student. Colleges have also utilized their social media presence and online resources during the pandemic. They will likely continue this pattern for future upperclassmen.
No matter where you currently are in your college application process, be patient with yourself. This process is stressful in a normal year, and especially now with uncommon circumstances. Reach out to your counselor if you need help, and know that everything will work out in the end!