COVID-19 creates added stressors on college applicants 

Test scores, grades, resources impacted amidst pandemic

Junior+Marley+Miller+applies+to+the+University+of+Minnesota+Duluth.+COVID-19+has+brought+changes+to+the+application+requirements%2C+stressing+out+many+students.

Lilia Gonzalez

Junior Marley Miller applies to the University of Minnesota Duluth. COVID-19 has brought changes to the application requirements, stressing out many students.

Molly Schochet

College applications are just one of the countless things impacted by COVID-19. Counselor for the class of 2021 Laura King said COVID-19 has led to different requirements for applications than in the past. 

“The process as far as what is required at the various campuses has changed. Traditionally, a standardized test in the form of an ACT or an SAT would be a really important component for a college application,” King said. “This year, that is not required for almost every single college and university out there.”

Schools going ACT/SAT optional or blind have affected where some students, including herself, are applying, according to senior Maia Seidel

“Personally, my strong suit is my test scores. I was going to apply to UCLA, or some of the UC schools but they’re going test blind, which really affects my application because test blind means that they’re not looking at tests at all,” Seidel said. 

Without test scores, essays and resumes have become much more important. Senior Gabbie Kruse said she said she wanted to make sure her essay stood out.

“(Applying) was more focused on the essay and what you’ve been doing,” Kruse said. “It was just navigating that and making sure that was really good, because you didn’t really necessarily need your ACT score.”  

Park’s switch to a pass/fail grading system during second semester last year also had an impact on her and her classmates’ applications, Seidel said. 

“The fact that the school went pass/fail last semester was not good for me because that was the last semester of junior year, which (is when) I’m supposed to get my grades up,” Seidel said. 

Without being able to go visit many schools because of the pandemic, King said many students have had to learn as much as possible about schools through virtual tours. 

“Some kids are really frustrated because they haven’t been able to do on campus visits and that’s such a great way to find out if the schools are good for you,” King said. 

With the added pandemic it makes everything more stressful because you don’t know what each college is doing, like if they’re even going to be there (in person),”

— Gabbie Kruse

The unknown future of COVID-19 has also made applying harder, Kruse said. 

With the added pandemic it makes everything more stressful because you don’t know what each college is doing, like if they’re even going to be there (in person),” Kruse said. “It’s just so much unknown already and the pandemic adds to that.”

While the application process may look slightly different this year, King said she wants students to know she is still there to help. 

“Post-secondary college planning can look like so many different things. It can be a four-year school, two-year school, a certificate, it can be an apprenticeship. There’s just so many things that are available to our students and if they need any help with those, please let me know,” King said.

Instead of holding in-person help sessions, like most years, King said she now has a Zoom room open all day Thursday which students can join at any time to ask questions or work on applications.