Applying to college during COVID: Benefits/Cons to remote college application process

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Matthew Kim

The college research process has undergone significant changes due to recent travel restrictions.

Matthew Kim

For the millions of seniors with the hopes and dreams of furthering their education in the numerous prestigious colleges and universities across the nation, college applications are a necessary but often confusing and stressful process. Throw in a global pandemic, and college applications appear unrecognizable. From voided SATs to online campus visits, many seniors are stuck wondering, is this change for better or worse?  

As shelter-in-place orders and coronavirus restrictions postpone numerous SATs and ACTs across the nation, a major concern for seniors has been the possibility of not being able to produce a standardized test score to accompany their college application.

To the relief of many seniors, colleges and universities across the nation have turned test optional or even test blind. Some name brand universities have gone test optional/test blind, including Universities of California, Ivy Leagues, and many more (here is a list of all the test optional/test blind colleges). 

“A lot of the schools that I want to apply to have turned test optional which has been really great because I’ve only been able to take the SAT once and was planning on taking it again, but COVID cancelled all of my test dates” said Nathan Cohn (21’).

For those applying to college, demonstrated interest (which previously meant visiting colleges, attending programs, and interviewing with alumni) has undergone a great shift amidst the current circumstances. 

With traveling now deemed high risk, demonstrated interest has shifted in the favor of those unable to dish out thousands of dollars on traveling to colleges and universities (here is a list of colleges that track demonstrated interest).

While demonstrated interest still remains a factor, it will now be much easier for students wishing to do so from the comfort of their homes. Some of the ways you can demonstrate interests amidst current circumstances include filling out an interest form on a college admission’s website, attending virtual sessions and tours, and even just clicking on the emails colleges send you. 

So, will you get in? 

With so many changes to the normative factors of college admissions, many seniors may be worrying about their chances of getting into college. However, students shouldn’t worry; college admissions counselors have reassured students that the college application process remains a holistic approach with no singular category as a make it or break it for getting in. 

Whether it’s a missing SAT score or an inability to visit a college, it’s important to remember that colleges understand the circumstances and will consider all parts of the application process.