Covid-19 creates unexpected challenges in the college application process

A look in to the life of an NC senior applying to colleges

Abby Gruner, Editor

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought me unexpected challenges as well as perks when it comes to applying to colleges. Even before the corona virus struck around the beginning of March 2020, I knew that applying to colleges would take up a substantial amount of my time during the fall of my senior year. Now that I’ve been unable to visit many of the colleges I am interested in applying to, I have even more work cut out for me. 

This extra work stems from the fact I have to find ways to learn about colleges without visiting them. I have attended more virtual college information sessions and tours than I can name. One day I went straight home from school to attend three consecutive virtual college events. Some of these events have been extremely helpful and have really made me excited about applying to the college represented, while others have made me question why I wasted an hour on Zoom. 

Touring a college virtually just isn’t the same as being there in person, so it has been really difficult for me to eliminate colleges on my list. This also adds extra work for me because applying to more colleges means writing more supplemental essays. Supplemental essays are the additional essays specific to each college. Between the 16 colleges I am applying to, I have 15 supplemental essays to write ranging in length from two sentences to 500 words. 

The only perk I have found of applying to colleges during the current circumstances is that many colleges aren’t requiring ACT/SAT scores from applicants this year. For me this is a major advantage because I am able to choose whether or not I want to submit my scores to a college based on how my scores compare to the students they have admitted in past years. I feel that because of this, I have more of a chance at getting into schools I may not have even been considered for in the past. 

I am extremely grateful for the fact my mom encouraged me to start preparing and taking the ACT early. I first took the ACT September 2019 and then was able to study during quarantine and take it again in June 2020. This is a major advantage for me because many of my fellow seniors are having to submit scores from the October test, which for many was their first attempt.

My first deadline, November 1, is approaching quickly and while I am excited to have one application crossed off the list, I am nervous I will not have figured out how to submit all the required materials. I am fortunate though to be receiving guidance from a college counselor and a freelance writer who helps with my essays. I am hoping that after this first application the next 15 will be easier.