Coronavirus’s Impact on the College Application Process

COVID-19 is making the flawed college process even more stressful for rising applicants.

COVID-19 is making the flawed college process even more stressful for rising applicants.

Lilac Lin

The college admissions process has become a major stressor and uncertainty for high school students. Nowadays, having good grades and participating in extracurriculars can no longer guarantee a spot at selective universities. Acceptance rates are at an all-time low, while university tuitions are on the rise. With that being said, the introduction of a global pandemic can only make admissions more difficult, right? Not necessarily. 

As COVID-19 quickly shuts down high schools internationally, colleges need to become more lenient in the admission process. Educators are slowly adapting to distance learning, which has caused grading to temporarily come to a halt, affecting transcripts of high school and college students. Social distancing has led to the postponement of spring testing and admission deadlines, giving applicants more freedom and time to prepare. Some schools are considering neglecting standardized tests from admissions. For example, Tufts University has implemented a three year trial on making standardized tests optional for applicants.

The growing restrictions on global travel have also made the process easier for prospective juniors and seniors. As a result of the pandemic, Universities are not recruiting Chinese international students, leaving many spots open for other students. Because it is uncertain whether other international students are able to travel to the United States, many colleges have accepted applicants who had initially been placed on the waitlist. 

Economic instability and social distancing has made it difficult for high schoolers and colleges to make important decisions. As more and more workers are being laid off, financial aid is likely going to become a necessity for many more applicants.

While most view spring break as an opportunity for road trips and relaxing on beaches, it is also a popular time for juniors to take planned visits to universities. With many colleges closing down for the remainder of the semester, planned visits have been changed to virtual tours. While virtual tours and online content cannot replace in-person visits, virtual platforms such as YouVisit and Concept3D are providing the best possible alternatives for students.

COVID-19 has managed to interfere with all aspects of our daily lives, especially with the college application process. Universities are on top of the situation and communicating closely with students to ensure the process runs as smoothly as possible. Despite the abrupt changes in this process, the diligence of universities is making the best of these unprecedented times.