Applying to College During the 2020 Pandemic

  • January 21, 2021

Having school during a pandemic is hard but imagine applying for college on top of that stress level. As it is, applying to college is a stressful and expensive task, now with the high unemployment rate and overall anxiety that comes with catching COVID, it makes it a very difficult task for many.

 

How have the Gahr student’s dealt with this? Ginna Rocha, a senior attending Gahr High School explained her process, claiming that, “The most stressful time for me was late November to early 

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Photo obtained from Road2College

December: prime application time. The more difficult aspects of the applications were the personal insight questions for the UCs and trying to answer some of the more vague application questions.”

In 2020, students have had to get very creative with the application process. Most colleges are looking closer at the essays, they have been especially looking at the personal side, trying to see how applicants are persevering through the pandemic. Ginna Rocha also explained that, “I watched some Youtube videos on tips for writing the essays which helped me a lot by giving me some basic rules to abide by and avoiding some major don'ts while writing. However, if I had started a bit earlier (which I 100% recommend), I definitely suggest asking your teachers to read over any essays you have to write.”

 

In addition, a key factor for applying to colleges is organization skills. Iris Ji, a senior at Gahr High School explained, “Applying for college is hard but staying organized helps. Personally, I created a google sheet and put down all the due dates and application requirements on there so that I would remember and not stress about the process as much. List your major and the different supplements that are needed for each school and your major. I started the application process during the summer before senior year. Since I'm a first generation college student I didn't really have a lot of guidance so I reached out to a lot of my college friends so that they could provide insight on this whole process. Don't procrastinate on your essays! Get them out of the way so that you'll feel free and enjoy your senior year!”  

NPR Politics and Collegiate Parent explained that in a normal school year, students would have completed the SAT and ACT tests and written a college admission essay to be considered being accepted into the college. However, this year, the tests have been cancelled and grades were switched to pass or fail last year. There also haven’t been opportunities for extracurricular activities, which all help to distinguish applicants. The colleges will have to dig deeper and deeper into the essays and student’s files to find the information that separates a candidate from the rest. According to Ivy Wise, it’s been decided that the college admissions board will “read in context,” meaning that they will take everything that has happened since March under consideration. They will rely more on the essay part and teacher recommendations to find the right applicants.