COVID-19, FEATURE — September 25, 2020 at 5:16 pm

Seniors complete their college applications amidst ongoing pandemic

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Graphic of college pamphlets on a desk with the text, "College Ready"
Various colleges opt to allow students to decide whether or not they want to submit their test scores, due to the cancelation of SAT and ACT dates. Graphic by Madison Lenard

As the 2019-2020 school year at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School abruptly shifted to remote learning, the class of 2020 experienced various milestones in unusual ways; either at home or socially distanced. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it seems as if the class of 2021 is headed down a similar path. 

Besides the rising class of seniors missing their last first day of school on campus and finally being able to park in the senior lot, there is another significant milestone seniors are facing at home: applying for college.

Although college applications are normally completed online anyways, the current state of the nation has greatly affected this process for students.

“There is no doubt that college applications are different this year. I personally feel that the process is tedious and boring, but significant,” senior Julen Arriaga said. “I don’t think the class of 2021 is at a significant disadvantage, but it is harder to go through the process because some circumstances have changed, such as the SATs getting canceled and the upcoming school year [being] all online because of COVID-19.”

As universities across the nation become test-optional, students have mixed feelings regarding whether or not they believe it is fair or benefits them. 

“As someone with higher test scores than other aspects of application, the de-emphasis of them this year in college admissions disadvantages me, but may be an advantage to other students,” senior Yasmine Mettawa said.

Others are feeling particularly ambivalent on whether or not they should submit their scores anyways. 

“The lines of what colleges are looking for this year is not really well established. This is because some schools are going test optional. As of right now, I personally do not know if I am going to send my scores because I have only gotten to take the exam only once,” senior Marianna Gutierrez said. “At the same time, a lot of my applications are due by November. It makes me nervous because I do not know if I will be able to get my target score by that time.”

In a poll conducted on the Eagle Eye instagram, 19% of MSD students do not favor schools going test-optional.

Among the stressors of college admission test dates getting canceled, many students are struggling to build relationships with their teachers and ultimately ask them for recommendation letters.

“I believe filling out college applications is a bit harder during online school,” senior Ryan Matulin said. “In person, it is easier to communicate with teachers for recommendation letters and you feel more involved in the extracurriculars and activities that overall shape/define you from everyone else.”

However, some feel as if guidance counselors have utilized their empty offices to further aid students in the college application process.

“There are also some benefits. The teachers and guidance counselors have given us extra attention to ensure that our application process runs smoothly. So, this is a new experience for everybody and it does have different circumstances than before,” Arriaga said.

The guidance department creates a virtual office on Canvas to aid students during online schooling. Photo by Ashley Ferrer

Filling out applications in the comfort of students’ own homes have also made it easier for them to procrastinate, as they do not have the constant reminders teachers would normally give at school.

“So many people, like myself, are trying their best to perfect their college applications so we forget about the other work we need to get done now for school,” senior Jasmine Gola said. “I usually get my work done for my high school classes the day or hour it’s due.”

The circumstances regarding college applications have altered greatly due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, and the class of 2021 is experiencing them firsthand.

Editor-in-Chief | + posts

Ashley Ferrer is a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and an Editor-in-Chief for the Eagle Eye. Her extracurriculars include cheerleading, track and writing poems. In the future, she hopes to become a journalist.

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