COVID and College

Jessica Spierenburg, COVID Writer

The coronavirus pandemic has caused many significant setbacks in everyday life. In the past seven months, businesses have shut down, social interaction has been limited, and schools have switched to remote learning. While most of these setbacks are temporary, they may still cause long-lasting damage. Focusing solely on education, millions of high school juniors and seniors worldwide currently face intensified anxiety during the college application process. In a typical year, upper-classmen find the right school for them by visiting campuses and working hard to score highly on tests that can make or break their application. However, in 2020 where COVID-19 remains a major threat, the process is looking entirely different.

Every year, juniors and seniors cram to take SAT and ACTs in hopes of managing a good enough score to gain acceptance into their dream universities. However, with the pandemic striking last March, most of the current senior class could not take their test. The senior class is now trying their best to take last-minute exams, but with the virus still thriving, test dates are being canceled left and right. With college application deadlines quickly approaching, these factors have led colleges to make the class of 2021 test-optional. This means that to apply to college, current seniors do not have to provide a test score on their application. While this appears to adjust the application process to fit the needs of the pandemic better, it is quite the opposite. It is more than likely that the students who are able to provide a test score will receive an unfair advantage over students who were unable to take a test. As a result, students who have no control over the current situation may be given a life-changing disadvantage. 

There is no telling how much longer this pandemic will last, and because of this, the current junior class must also remain prepared. Since there is no guarantee that schools will stay open once winter approaches, many juniors are attempting to take the SAT and ACT earlier than planned. The hope is that a vaccine will be produced soon enough to provide more clarity for upperclassmen as they attempt to navigate these difficult circumstances. Until then, the best they can do is work hard to earn high grades and become adjustable to unexpected changes.