College Application and Admission Changes Due to Coronavirus


“College” by jacobroeland is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

   During the coronavirus pandemic, it seemed like time had been at a standstill. But recently, with the time of college applications, that illusion has suddenly stopped and students are feeling rushed and stressed with the due dates.
   The pandemic has forced a shift even in college applications and there have been changes and concerns by both sides, including the schools and most importantly, the students.
    With the number of freshmen enrollment dropping as far as 16% from last fall, one of the biggest concerns facing the schools is their budgets. The pandemic has severely impacted the school’s tuition revenue that may cause the number of accepted applicants to be higher this year because more students mean more revenue for the schools.
   According to Angel Perez, the CEO of the National Association for College Admission Counseling, Perez states that acceptance rates for schools might be higher for the 2021-2022 academic year.
   One major change that schools such as Duke, Brown, Yale University, and other top schools in the nation have announced is their test-optional admissions for the upcoming applicants. 85 out of 100 top schools have shifted their formats that way. Tests such as the SAT are now optional in the student’s applications.
   Although the test-optional applications might be good news to some, students are now concerned that other applicants with an SAT score, for example, might have an upper hand over some who don’t. Schools with test-optional admissions have announced that SAT and other test scores will not give applicants an advantage, but hardworking students such as Noor Abuita (12) raises concerns.
   “Colleges claim that test scores won’t count against you if you don’t submit one, but I feel like they will since schools have the option to submit one,” said Abuita.
   There are other concerns as well regarding which school for students to even pick as well because there were no college campus tours leading up to the recent admission application processes.
    Although with the extra time the students have with optional SATs, sports along other extracurricular activities postponed or canceled, some might think that current applicants are fortunate and have it easy. But many students will disagree with that statement.
   “It seems like my high school experience was cut short and, even worse, suddenly I have to start thinking about the future — life was so dormant and boring, then suddenly there are all these stresses about applications,” said Tammi Sison (12) one of the top students at Heritage High School, who participate in many other extracurricular activities, including sports and club activities.
   College applications have always been a stressful event in student life, but students such as Britney Smookler (12) have chosen to go a different path that requires no college applications at the moment. Smookler has decided to choose to go to a community college over going to a traditional four-year university straight after graduating high school.
   “Especially during this time with the pandemic, I feel like completing your general education at a community college and then transferring is the smarter path to choose,” said Smookler.
   The coronavirus pandemic has really changed many aspects of student life, including and notably college applications, reinforcing how tough it might be for certain students currently.
   “I feel like non-pandemic seniors would be far more emotionally prepared — my older brothers seemed like that to me. In the end, there’s no way of knowing that my current attitude and behavior would be different if I hadn’t been a senior during a pandemic, and there’s no use thinking about it so I just go on ignoring those types of thoughts,” said Sison.
College applications are demanding for students, the pandemic and the application changes from schools seem like they are added on stress for students applying to multiple schools.