College admissions changes for juniors and seniors

Admissions process in flux as colleges and counselors shift strategies in face of pandemic

Universities+across+the+country+are+suspending+visits+through+the+summer%2C+including+Indiana+University--Bloomington

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Universities across the country are suspending visits through the summer, including Indiana University--Bloomington

COVID-19 has caused multiple college campuses to shut down, which includes cancellations of campus visits and admitted students days for high school students. This has had an impact on the college decision process for many students. 

But despite being disappointed about these developments, students do recognize that the cancellations are an important step to stopping the spread of the virus. 

Junior Eva Goren’s plans to visit colleges over spring break were canceled due to the outbreaks.

“It’s probably for the best because young people are some of the biggest spreaders for COVID-19, because a lot of us will not experience symptoms,” said Goren. 

While students are unable to visit college campuses now, many are hopeful that they will be able to visit before they submit their applications.

“I’m planning on rescheduling my trips this summer so I can still get a chance to look at the colleges,” Junior Amanda Huston said.  

In the meantime, students are able to look at college websites and participate in Zoom conference calls with their Post-High School Counselors. 

In addition to closing for the rest of the semester, some colleges are opting to push back the May 1 enrollment day, so students will be able to feel more confident in their choices. Some of the colleges doing this include Indiana University, DePaul University, and University of Illinois’ Chicago and Springfield campuses.

With all of these changes, the College Board and The Educational Testing Service have rescheduled or canceled the ACT and SAT in the months of April and May. Along with these cancellations and disruptions, some colleges are removing their ACT and SAT requirements for the class of 2021. Case Western Reserve is among one of the first colleges to do so.

 Hutson believes that it should be a college by college choice of whether to keep their requirements of ACT and SAT scores, but thinks that there should still be an option to submit them.

“Scores can affect your chances of getting in, so I’m sure [that] not requesting them would take some pressure off applicants, but I also think if we’ve already worked hard on getting your score, it would be nice for it to pay off,” said Hutson. 

Junior Brian Shen suggested that there should be an option to take the tests in the summer to make up for the cancelled tests or other measurements of testing.

“If the SAT is cancelled, they can use the PSAT scores. Either way, no one can take them so it won’t hugely be to my disadvantage,” Shen said.

The larger debate among students, though, is visiting the campus of their admitted schools. Senior Michelle Lu is one of many New Trier students who was unable to attend an admitted decision day before making her choice.

“I was originally going to visit before committing but now that the admitted student day is canceled I just went ahead and committed,” Lu said. 

Lu is planning to reschedule her visit before college.  While she is confident of her decision, she does wish she was able to experience the campus before deciding.

“I didn’t get to visit, I’m not as sure as I probably would’ve been if I got the chance to visit first. I don’t really know anything about what life will be like on campus,” Lu said. 

The pandemic also has students applying different criteria in their decisions. Senior Esther Xu now wants to attend school closer to home in case of an emergency after seeing how quickly colleges wanted students to leave. 

“Being able to get home quickly without worrying about when I would be able to get my belongings back if something like this happens again would be essential,” said Xu.