Pandemic diversifies college applications

AnnaDailey

As juniors and seniors approach the end of high school, talk of the next step becomes more and more relevant. From taking the ACT to going on college visits, a lot of stressful preparation goes into applying for college. Due to COVID-19, the college application/admission process may look a little different this year. 

“I haven’t taken the ACT yet and I have been trying to take it since March, but it’s been cancelled every time, and the website is constantly crashing because there are so many people trying to sign up,” senior Ola Hezel said. “I was hoping to take it three or four times before I applied, but now I probably won’t be able to take it at all.”

Colleges understand the unpredictability of this situation, and many of them have decided to go test-optional, meaning students won’t need to submit their test scores. “We understand that fewer people are going to have test scores this year, which is totally fine by us,” Assistant Director of Admissions at Creighton University Chris Slocombe said. 

“If a student has shown consistency in the classroom, can write really well and has a recommendation from someone who has taught them or can vouch for them, those are typically better indicators that a student is going to be successful in college. . .We don’t want someone who is an excellent student, but otherwise didn’t get what they wanted on the test to stop them from applying to an institution like Creighton,” Slocombe said. Creighton University adopted the test-optional policy beginning with the Class of 2020.

College visits are another aspect of picking the right college that has drastically changed this year; most have been transformed into a virtual experience. “I haven’t really narrowed down where I am going to apply to, because I have not been able to visit anywhere,” senior Anna Ambrose said. 

Slocombe’s advice to college applicants this year is to “try to visit your school either virtually or in person, depending on how comfortable you are with an institution’s protocol surrounding campus visits, mask-wearing and that sort of stuff.”

Information about colleges’ most recent application requirements can be found on Naviance, the Common Application website, college websites, and other college search resources.

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