[Opinion] COVID-19 is breaking college admissions


Sitting at her desk a student stresses over her laptop. This is a common experience for many Seniors adjusting to college admissions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo by Isabelly Silveira

Brady Freidkes, Writer

As seniors finish their college applications, they face a variety of struggles regarding the admission process because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Students have been dealing with unprecedented challenges amid the ongoing pandemic as it has greatly interfered with life all across the United States. 

There are a myriad of requirements that universities need to see in order for them to consider an applicant. These include letters of recommendation, SAT/ACT scores and extracurricular activities. Each of these poses their own unique challenges during this time. 

Letters of recommendation play a role for students while applying to colleges as it demonstrates teachers’ connections with a particular student. In reality, it is hard to get these letters when the majority of high schoolers partake in remote learning. These individuals have limited ability to communicate to a teacher in person, a factor many universities have not taken in account. 

Another problem is submitting test scores. While many colleges have made submitting the SAT optional, other schools still require an SAT score for admission, which is a challenge for thousands. This is because testing centers get shut down on a regular basis due to the virus. Juniors and seniors are simply limited on how they can take these standardized tests, which could potentially affect their score. 

Furthermore, much of daily life for students after school has vanished. They can no longer participate in any clubs, sports or events easily, all of which show student involvement on campus. 

Typically, students express future goals and dreams in a college application. Yet with COVID-19 making life a struggle, many students may write about their adversity and suffering, a topic colleges may not want to hear about.

With this worldwide pandemic, students could discuss the numerous obstacles they faced, but colleges likely don’t want to see it as an ongoing topic throughout all their applications. Admission teams have empathy for the situation students have been struggling with since 2020.

Additionally, students might need to substantially revise their application if they lack experience in a certain category. With so many consequences because of COVID-19, students have to try harder to fulfill the requirements and standards universities seek. 

At this point, it’s important for students to get a clear understanding of what colleges are asking for. In order to do so, students have to prepare ahead of time. Unfortunately, students don’t always know the changes college admission teams make, but it can be anticipated that these institutions want and expect the best test scores, GPA and extracurriculars one can involve themselves in. Being accomplished, especially this year, will allow certain applicants to stand out.

An admissions officer reviewing an application wants to see how a student took a challenge and turned it into a positive story. No matter what, students need to take the best approach towards each of their applications and carefully review them prior to sending them to the schools of their choice.