College applications in a Covid-19 world

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Julia Wolfe

Starting to prepare for college plans, seniors are researching colleges and finishing up standardized assessments. COVID-19 has caused changes in the normal application process.

Julia Wolfe, Opinions Editor

Since COVID-19 hit Americans across the nation, many questions have arisen about what will happen to the college application process. The class of 2021 has a different application experience due to the pandemic and almost all colleges have changed their policies. 

Because SAT and ACT exams were cancelled, all but four colleges in the entire nation have made their applications test optional. Even so, College Board have test dates for the SAT Nov. 7, and four different ACT exams will take place in October.  

“There is limited testing capacity in certain areas due to public health restrictions and high demand,” said the College Board website in a message to takers of the SAT. “While College Board can’t directly control test center capacity and availability, we’re working to ensure as many students as possible are able to test safely.” 

Another complication has arisen because of the pandemic is the GPA of many students. Many private or charter students based on what state you were living in made grades pass/fail. This will affect class ranking, scholarships and how colleges will weigh the importance of a good GPA.  

“We’re recommending that our scholarship partners allow students to defer all or part of their scholarship awards by up to a year if they can’t make it back to school right away,” said the Scholarship America website. “Students are facing hard choices, and we want them to know that the scholarship dollars they earned will be waiting for them when they’re ready to come back.” 

The Common App has added an additional written section for students to have an opportunity to share how COVID-19 has affected their life. It is unknown if this section will stay for future seasons of applications.  

“If you need it, the COVID-19 and natural disaster question in the Additional Information section is a place for you to describe the impact of these events,” said the Common App in their student solution section. “Consider how these events may have impacted you, your family and your learning environment.” 

Currently at Plant, college counselors are unable to meet with you in-person. To set up a meeting, either over Zoom or for 15 minutes in school, you must scan the door and make an appointment. If parents want to talk with the counselor, since they are not currently allowed on campus, they must talk via Zoom.  

“Parents are not permitted to book or attend,” said Lauren Moseley in the appointment set up. “Only district staff are allowed on campus at this time.” 

Naviance has been one-way students can prepare for college with COVID-19 regulation. Here, students can take aptitude tests, and decide what career and aligning majors they can add to their application. The Naviance website is also where students can request their transcripts, request teacher recommendations, and get in touch with colleges.  

“Once you’ve finalized your college list, it is time to make a checklist of all the items that are needed to complete each application.” said Lauren Moseley on a Naviance message.  

One of the websites features is a section known as SuperMatch. This application takes into account students’ needs for where they want to start their college career. Naviance takes your GPA and SAT or ACT scores and asks you a myriad of questions. The website filters through your preferred location, majors you’re interested in, acceptance rate, student body size, housing, common app membership, and gender concentration. It then gives you schools that match with your preferences.  

“Search schools by location, cost, size, and more to find your best fit,” said the SuperMatch on Naviance. 

Although college applications are different this year, there have been changes so that students can move forward with their college career.