College Search During a Global Pandemic

College Search During a Global Pandemic

Peter Conser '24, staff writer

Seniors across the world face the struggle each year of finding out what they want to do after graduating high school. Most seniors decide to attend a university. However, most seniors also get the opportunity to visit the university before they decide that it is the right fit for them, but this is not the case in college searching during a global pandemic. When interviewing multiple high school seniors, I found a lot of seniors having anxiety about the college admissions process, and the changes that have taken place during a global pandemic. When interviewing Providence Catholic Senior, Taylor Issa, she stated, “When thinking about my college search experience, the first thing that comes to mind is: ‘Wow, that was different than what other kids have done in the past.’ I remember hearing my friends who were in older grade levels discuss this college process, and their experience was full of college visits, meeting teachers and staff at different colleges, and attending incoming first-year events. I always have heard about such a fun experience, so I was really looking forward to my time to begin the college search.

However, I was greeted with the reality that things would be different for me than it was for previous seniors. The thing that comes to mind first was the experience of actual college tours. For that class of 2021, college tours did not really exist. A college tour for me was walking around the outside of a campus with my family, without a guide or any other kids. A senior in a normal year enjoys tours with a student guide, and other families… and these tours include touring the inside of the school’s buildings as well as the outside. Thankfully, towards the end of the college visit process, two of the colleges on my list allowed for us to have a guide. However, I know that this process that me and many other seniors experienced was far from normal.

After the visit process, which is more heavily occurring in the beginning of the college search, things started to seem a little less strange. Just like seniors in the past, I was applying to colleges online, and it was the same experience as they had. However, more recently, I discovered another significant difference: the lack of incoming first-year events. I briefly mentioned that already, but I would like to touch on it more.

Once a senior has chosen a college, it is common to then attend events at the college of choice to meet other incoming first-year students. I am close to nearing the end of the college search process, with one college that I am close to officially choosing… and the incoming first-year events have all gone online. A Zoom Event is not the average experience. Usually, these events have food, activities, and time to chat with others… which will not be happening this year.

While many seniors mourn the loss of their senior year and normal college search process, I feel as though I have gained a lot from this experience. Not only am I granted the opportunity to reach college professors and staff more easily and at any time, but I am learning what I should appreciate in life. I am hopeful that further into my college years, I will be able to experience at least a fraction of what previous college students have experienced, and I’m optimistic for the future of the Class of 2021”. Taylor and multiple other college students feel the same way about the college search during a global pandemic. However, there have been some good things to come out of this experience. One of them being that colleges have been able to create virtual tours of the campuses, where you could virtually experience that campuses and facilities that these different colleges have to offer. Moreover, many colleges are not requiring seniors to submit ACT, and SAT tests for the 2020-2021 application year because of the unparticular circumstances. In conclusion, although college searching in a global pandemic is not easy, colleges have done their best to implement fun and safe ways to learn more about that school.