Applying To College During COVID-19


Will Dolan

Around a year ago I wrote an article about how COVID-19 was affecting the college process. At the time, I was a junior, and much of the upcoming application season was unknown. For those that do not know, many schools had their lowest acceptance rates ever for their college processes, only rivaled by the influx of soldiers returning home from WWII. This was new for everyone involved, the students, college counselors, and even the admissions counselors at the schools. While this may have been a strange year, most likely next year will be similar. 

With COVID-19, colleges did not let students onto their campuses. With this barrier, many students until recently had not visited any of the colleges they applied to. Without being able to visit colleges, it can be hard to see which campus you like more or which surrounding area is more your type. Next year, though, colleges will have what they started to make last year: dozens of online resources like online tours or specific major Zoom meetings or webinars to learn more about the school. To even know where to look, Naviance has tests you can take to help you find colleges you would like, but in my experience, colleges that you have heard of in the past or that people from Priory have previously gone to are the best bet. 

Applying will be as different next year as it was this year, the biggest difference: test-optional. Many schools have vowed to stay test-optional for the next year. This will most likely keep the acceptance rates down, but also evens the playing field for those without access to individual test-prep that only some can afford. Going test-optional is not necessarily a good or bad thing, it depends on the student. If one were not to submit a test, all other parts of their application such as essays, grades, extracurriculars, and athletics would draw more focus that those who submit tests will not have. 

Whether or not this will be the norm for the future is dependent on my class and the class below us, and especially the test-optional students compared to the testing students. However the dynamic between the two turns out to be, there may be a chance this will be the norm for the rest of our lives.