Seniors Experience A Fully-Virtual College Apps Season
College application season can be stressful, and COVID-19 seems to have added on to the list of worries for the newly minted Senior Class.
While the majority of the application process is completed online, seniors would normally be able to talk with a MHS counselor, teacher or an admissions counselor face to face. However, with the transition to online, all of these discussions have to take place over the phone.
According to FairTest, a group that keeps track of college admissions tests, 1,600 colleges are test-optional this year.
Mizzou, for example, has created a test-optional application for students who may not have been able to take their ACT or SAT. Instead of the traditional test score, they’re asking for a personal statement and a resume.
Clare Gannon, admissions recruiter at Mizzou, said Mizzou is working to make this overwhelming time easier for students.
“My biggest concern about students applying during the pandemic is simply being able to balance everything that is going on,” Gannon said. “This is an unusual time, and the college search can already be stressful enough as it is. I hope that our team can make that a little bit easier by being available for all of the students’ questions and concerns.”
Gannon said there are many resources available for applicants such as virtual meetings with counselors, presentations and virtual tours of the campus.
Paula Ake, college and career counselor at MHS, has been booked and busy trying to help the class of 21 during this time.
“There is no one most important part of the application. Every section is important and critical to the university when they are considering you for admissions,” Ake said. “The key is to be honest and thorough, answer every question to the best of your ability, and read the instructions carefully.”
Ake mentioned that while seniors are top priority in the fall, juniors can start making appointments with her in the spring. There is also an abundance of events and opportunities listed on their website as well as Canvas. This way, juniors can prepare and seniors can be up to date.
Ake believes that students should start thinking about what they will put on their college application as early as freshman year.
“Keeping track of honors, awards, and extracurricular activities begins when you start high school,” Ake said. “Everything you do over those 4 years will be part of what you put down on a college application.”
Jamie Levine, senior, is currently in the process of applying for colleges.
“Because of COVID, I kind of feel like I am on my own in terms of getting everything done, and I couldn’t visit colleges at all like I typically would’ve been able to,” Levine said.
Levine said more resources should be provided to seniors at MHS in regards to college applications and the pandemic has disrupted the whole process.
“I feel in some aspects I’m at a disadvantage, and other aspects I’m not,” Levine said.
Sarena Yeung, MHS alumna, also applied to colleges last year, in a time of uncertainty.
“I remember looking at waitlist forums, and I was so confused because I couldn’t reference the past for any help,” Yeung said. “I couldn’t even talk to teachers and counselors because they were about as in the dark as we were.”
Yeung said she likes the test-optional applications; however, she feels as though it is unfair to past students who have had to stress about standardized tests.
Yeung is now a freshman at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
She had some words of wisdom for the Class of ‘21.
“Let what happens happen. It’s out of your control once they’re submitted, so might as well enjoy what’s left of senior year,” Yeung said. “On the bright side, since school has been online, there has been more time to work on those applications.”
Rutaiba Siddiqui, sophomore, is the Social Media Editor of Instagram for the Marquette Messenger. This will be her first full year on staff. In her free...