College Applications

Continuing education process during pandemic adds stress for seniors

College+Applications

Fastweb.com

Elliana Carter, Reporter

College Applications.

Those words strike fear in the heart of almost every high schooler. For freshmen, it reminds them that their high school career will be over in a blink. For sophomores, it is semi-distant fear on the horizon. For juniors, it is their ever-approaching fate. And for seniors, it is their reality.

For those hoping to attend colleges the year after they graduate, they are a necessary evil. Juniors are told of the horrors the seniors faced, meeting 42 deadlines and endless essay writing. But when it’s their turn, is it nearly as bad as it’s claimed to be? Usually. But what if on top of the usual stress, you add a pandemic?

As everyone knows, the COVID-19 pandemic has creeped into every aspect of life and college applications aren’t immune. Until this year, most colleges required standardized testing, either the SAT or the ACT. But due to COVID, most of those tests were cancelled. When they finally restarted them, they were almost too late for most upcoming seniors and often filled up before every student could sign up.
Also, many schools changed their grading scale, some schools freezing grades or moving to a pass or fail system.

For some students, their GPA was affected after the switch to online schooling. Or, those who were heavily involved in extracurriculars and maybe hoping to earn scholarships, were suddenly at home always. Instantly, all they had worked to build up to was quickly turning into a disaster.

Colleges may have adapted their applications slightly to the pandemic, allowing test scores to be optional and even allowing many students to explain any struggles in their academic records, but even these changes bring up controversy. The College Board claims that the test scores or lack of scores won’t give an advantage to students. But many question if that’s possible.

As a senior myself, I am familiar with the stress of college applications. Many seniors feel unprepared when they open the application for the first time. Personally, I felt as if no one had ever EXACTLY told me what a college application should include. Somehow I’ve spent years studying for every subject but never learned how to properly present my extracurriculars to a college. Feeling blindsided and unprepared for applications just added to my stress.

For many, when working on their essays, they would enlist the help of their English teachers. But for online students, this became another challenge. Senior Clayton Vaughan explained how he signed up for online workshops to help with his essays. He says he still wished he had more guidance.

Those who had already taken the college-entrance tests were set, but those who had waited were in trouble. Those who wanted to improve their scores were also in trouble. Many felt as if they had wasted time on the tests only for them to be optional. Senior London Tegerdine commented how she “kept rescheduling but didn’t study,” because she knew they would be cancelled again. For others who didn’t score as high as they wanted, as Vaughan put it, a weight was lifted off their shoulders.

College applications are stressful to begin with, but when you add the stress and anxiety of a pandemic on top of that, it becomes a lot to handle. Many seniors have dealt with this stress by procrastinating.

While life feels as if it has ceased to be normal, the mundane activities such as college applications never cease. Seniors around the country are still applying and will see what their future holds.