Choosing a College is now Virtually Impossible


Elizabeth Cheadle, Writer

The college admissions process has changed drastically due to the impact of COVID-19. Instead of being able to go visit a university, high school seniors are forced to make one of the biggest decisions of their lives through a computer screen. Universities both nationwide and worldwide have made it possible for seniors to visit the campus virtually, but it does not compare.

Colleges have been doing everything they can to try and make the process as simple as possible for first-year applying seniors.

Mr. Will Wilson, Holy Family College Counselor, explains: “About 80 percent of all colleges have made it that for the class of 2021 are going test-optional for admissions. That’s something that’s been coming, there were already 40 percent of all colleges that were test-optional and I think it might accelerate that, I think you’ll see a lot of these schools that have made that change for this year only stay with that. A number of colleges are also pushing their application deadlines to give students more time to work on those things. Both of those I find to be positive changes.” 

Pull out your phone, take a college campus tour … it’s as easy as that in 2020.

COVID-19 helped shed light on the importance of standardized tests, and if they really are an accurate representation of a student’s academic capabilities. As Mr. Wilson stated, many colleges were already looking into no longer requiring SAT/ACT scores, and Covid-19 has shown that they are not required to deem if a student is worthy of attending a university.

Mrs. Jacque Phillips, another Holy Family College Counselor, explains, “Some schools are test-optional. That puts more weight on course work, course rigor, and things like a student’s extra-curricular activities. It is important seniors know what each school’s admissions process and that the requirements may vary by schools as well.”

COVID-19 quickly changed how every member of the class of 2021 looked at the admissions process. As a senior myself, I can testify that when I thought about applying to college, it looked nothing like this. COVID-19 has forced high school seniors (and everyone for that matter) to adapt and change their expectations.

Holy Family Senior Allyson Merrion stated, “I’m not thrilled with the changes. It’s added an extra layer of stress to the application process and just one more thing to think about. Virtual college visits make finding a campus I like much harder, it’s difficult to get the feel of a place from a website.” 

Without being able to physically experience and explore universities, it is challenging to figure out if you will fit in well at the campus. Colleges are also not able to come and visit Holy Family or every other high school in the nation, which again makes it more difficult to establish the connection between faculty and students.

A quick reminder from Mrs. Phillips to Holy Family seniors: “Seniors need to be utilizing Naviance as much as possible. We have many virtual college visits scheduled and students can easily find that information on the home page in Naviance under “What’s New”. Students need to take an active role in their college search process! The HFHS College Counselors are here to help in any way that they can.  Please stop by or email them to set up an appointment or to simply ask a question.”