A student shares her college admissions experience during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the last few months, many aspects of our high school life have changed. Besides not being able to study presently in school, we are dealing with doubts and insecurities about what happens after we graduate high school and how we're going to get to the other side of the road, which is studying in college. One of the main issues we face right now is understanding and working with the college admissions process. When everything halted due to COVID-19, universities started to change course and reinvent their admissions process for the upcoming term and even for years to come. The old, standard evaluations no longer served as adequate information to distinguish each applicant. Looking for more COVID-19 student-impact information? Find it here.Take standardized testing for example; many students from across the country and the world could not take exams because of centers closing down and fear of being exposed to the virus. The main course of action most universities took was to modify their admissions applications and become test-optional. This particular change felt bittersweet to me. I was happy that my SAT scores weren't going to affect my chances of being admitted to a university. Still, I also felt that if I was admitted to a very competitive school, I wouldn't deserve it. Of course, this was a limiting and unrealistic point of view. Especially since people have long argued that SAT and ACT tests don't measure critical life-changing attributes such as grit, perseverance, honesty, compassion, intelligence, amongst other characteristics. Also, test scores don't hold all of the weight in these decisions.Besides not submitting my standardized testing scores, there have been a few other unexpected events to my admissions process like: • Not being able to visit college campuses. • I've participated in way too many virtual events and informational sessions. • My email has been flooded with messages and outreach from many universities. • I've learned that this year’s personal statements and essays count more than ever.Overall, the pandemic has upended the admissions world. We won't really know any information about it until we've submitted our college applications, received acceptance letters, and the new academic year comes around. As stated by Ángel Pérez, CEO of the National Association for College Admissions Counseling, "So many things that were sacred in the college admissions process may not be sacred anymore. Colleges and universities are reinventing a process that hasn't changed in over 50 years in a couple of months [...], and they don't have another choice." (NPR. How The Coronavirus Has Upended College Admissions). When thinking about the college admissions process, keep Perez's message in mind. Don't overthink college's decisions about your application. This is the type of year most people and colleges are in the "fake it till you make it" mindset, which might not necessarily benefit everyone. Remember to keep working on your goals and keep yourself motivated! If you're interested in learning about this topic, check out these links: Coronavirus pandemic may make it easier to get into college, but not the Ivy League After Coronavirus, Colleges Worry: Will Students Come Back?