Covid & College: An Update

Gianna Cuozzo

Coronavirus cases show no sign of decreasing across the United States, and people continue to struggle with work, schooling, and life in general. More specifically, high school juniors and seniors are faced with a great deal of uncertainty as they go through the college application process. With cases still on the rise, there is no telling when all-remote schools will reopen and resume in-person learning. 

Standardized testing has not been available for a large portion of students, as many schools have been virtual since March. Many students have not been able to take or have had to cancel their SAT/ACTs. Many seniors have not gotten the chance to take the test in time for college applications. In light of this issue, many colleges such as Alabama State and American University are going test-optional amid the pandemic. With others, like the University of California system not taking any scores, being test-blind. However, the question still stands: will students still be able to get into certain schools without providing test scores? Or will they be disadvantaged compared to other students?

College-bound students are also not able to visit many colleges in person. A significant part of the application process is to visit schools in person. However, many colleges have switched to fully remote campus tours and information sessions. This is a big problem for students because seeing the college and campus for oneself in person is a big part of determining if a student will choose to go to that school. 

Additionally, some colleges have announced they will be going fully remote into the 2021 school year. For many in the US, remote learning is currently the only safe option. However, remote learning is challenging for students compared to in-person learning, leaving them unmotivated and stressed over schoolwork. With the high tuition students pay for college, many are unwilling to pay for fully-remote education, which they disliked in high school. 

There is now talk of a vaccine coming out within the next few weeks, but it will take months to reach everyone. Until cases begin to decline or until a vaccine comes out, the college application process and college, in general, will continue to be a rocky process for students.