Filling Out the Covid-App.

All across the country, high school seniors are scrambling in mass confusion that may just determine what will happen to them for the rest of their lives. It’s no secret that 2020 has rocked our planet, country, and our schools to their cores, but one of the initially overlooked aspects is causing a lot of stress for high school seniors nationwide.

The college admissions process, a major factor in determining a student’s future, is stressful and confusing enough when the world isn’t undergoing a health crisis but is even more so when the world must remain inside. Many students and institutions are trying their best to adapt to the new normal, but adaptation is much easier said than done.  

Mr. Fred Baker, our college counselor, has been observing the changes over these months and has seen how the seniors have been affected this year. He said, “COVID, has been affecting our current senior class for a while. We really got the boot from going in person in March and then having to go virtual. Everything that these seniors thought they were going to be doing from March till now has been anywhere between slightly and greatly impacted by a coronavirus. Clubs and activities have been greatly truncated, if not, completely shut down. Tons of guys’ summer plans just went out the door entirely. Internships, jobs, camp-counselors all took a hit. These also happen to be things that colleges look at. 

“The college application process has definitely taken a huge hit this year in light of students not being able to take standardized tests. Many students were unable either to take or improve their scores on the ACT or SAT. This left many students and schools worried about college admissions, as they felt as if the scores were not a true reflection of a student’s true academic capabilities.” 

Luckily, many colleges across the country have decided to go “test-optional”, that is, they will allow a student to leave his test scores out of the application. This came as a bit of good news to Senior Anthony Hailey, who had decent scores but wasn’t able to improve them due to the pandemic. “At first I wasn’t sure about the whole test-optional thing,” said Hailey, “but then I started looking into it. I want to go to Notre Dame, which is highly selective. My scores are pretty good, but not quite good enough to get many scholarships there. I really haven’t been able to take the test recently and time has pretty much run out for me to do so. Luckily, Notre Dame is allowing students to go test-optional and will be looking more at my essays and community involvement. This way, I still stand a fair chance of being accepted, even though my scores are slightly below their benchmark.”

Though many schools say that they will not hold a bias against those who choose not to submit test scores, many students, like Hailey, are still skeptical. He said, “I’m still going to take the ACT as many times as I have left. I still think that they are super important to my admissions process, as I’m not truly convinced that going test-optional won’t hurt my chances of getting into some schools. I trust that Notre Dame won’t hold my choice against me, but for a few of the 20 other schools I’m applying to, I’m not so sure. I think that the important thing for guys who are thinking about going test-optional should take it with a grain of salt and truly decide for themselves what the best course of action is. This process has truly been a stressful yet exciting chapter in my life and I’m anxious to see what the coming months hold for me and my future.”

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