Applying to college amid the pandemic

Remy Cohler, Reporter


In what is typically a season of college applications and college visits, the global pandemic has created a vastly different landscape for this year’s graduating seniors. 

“Applying for colleges has been hard for me because I haven’t been able to talk to my peers as often as I’d like about how their applications are going,” senior Afnaan Ali said. 

In person college visits have also been severely limited. Students heavily rely on visiting potential colleges during application season to help decide where they’d like to go. 

“Not being able to visit the colleges I am applying to in person has been a stressor for me as well,”Ali said. “Because I feel like I am not entirely sure what I might be getting myself into,” 

Senior Abby Seehuus agreed the pandemic has complicated her application process by not allowing her to do college visits. 

“I feel that seeing a college in person can leave a huge impact on your decision to attend the school, “ Seehuus said. Some of the schools Seehuus had hoped to visit included University of Arizona and St. Olaf University in Minnesota. 

Seehuus will graduate early this December. She completed her graduation requirements early in order to begin working on her general education coursework at Heartland Community College. The pandemic has given her extra time at home to spend thinking about her near future and what she wants to do with it. 

“Being remote has given me a lot of time to research different colleges and majors that I may be interested in,” Seehuus said. “It has also allowed me time to look into future careers I might want to pursue later on.”


In order to reduce spread during this pandemic, the College Board canceled and rescheduled their dates for standardized testing. This became an issue, as many students were not able to take the test at the rescheduled date. As a result, and in order to help students, many colleges are allowing 2021 applicants to optionally submit their standardized testing scores. 

“Because of COVID-19, I was unable to retake the ACT. All of the schools I applied to, I had to make sure that they were test optional,” Seehuus said. “I feel that the schools that shifted over to test optional made a fair choice.”


Application season is also a busy time for college counselor, Courtney O’Connor. O’Connor has virtually met with students about their progress on applications, as well as hosted virtual college representative visits and workshops.

“College reps have always come into the school to do visits with students, but this year that isn’t possible,” O’Connor said. 

O’Connor understands the difficulties of this school year under this pandemic, and encourages students to ask for help if needed. Although she is working hard to offer advice to seniors applying to college, she is also available to the whole student body. 

“All counselors are available for the transition into blended learning or for any personal needs,” O’Connor said. “Surveys are put out and encouraged for feedback to see what the students’ needs are.”