Covid-19 difficulties lead to changes in college applications

Macy Sanchez, News Editor, Features Editor

Throughout the entirety of their second semester, seniors typically have an incredible amount of stress put on them. They are immediately responsible for preparing for their upcoming life as an adult. Probably the largest part of this stress comes from applying to colleges and awaiting a reply. 

The application process is a tedious one. An application typically consists of submitting a personal essay, an SAT or ACT test score, transcripts, and the answers to various monotonous questions. As most students apply to handfuls of colleges, this can end up amounting to hours upon hours of work. Keep in mind, all of this work is thrown on top of a student’s typical workload. 

In the wake of an international pandemic, this process has been altered. The majority of colleges across the nation have made submitting SAT or ACT scores, along with an essay submission, optional. As always, Ivy League schools are the exception to this process.

This year’s pandemic has made taking standardized tests like the SAT and the ACT very difficult. It has become unsafe to be in a room amongst 25 other students. Besides, the emotional strain that this year’s conditions have put on students, has changed every student’s performance in school. A student’s performance on the tests this year will likely not reflect their regular abilities. For these reasons, submitting test scores has moved from a mandatory task to an optional one.

In addition to these changes, colleges have become more lenient with deadlines. Many have extended their deadlines a few days, allowing students more time to finish everything. 

These changes are incredibly generous and thoughtful. It shows that colleges are paying attention to the effect that the past year has had on students, and shows a level of compassion and understanding. 

However, they also make it more difficult for students to stand out. With so many students omitting their tests scores and essays, the only factors by which a college can get to know the student is through the grades recorded on their transcripts and responses to basic short answer questions. This can make it even harder for a student to stand out in the eyes of college administrators. 

On the other hand, it gives students a slightly greater opportunity to stand out, as students can choose to be one of the few students that does submit their test scores or an essay. Thus, colleges are able to gain better insight as to what kind of student that applicant is. 

As a result of these adjustments, it is hoped that students will feel less stress about trying to complete the various facets of the daunting college application.