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College Applications During Quarantine

It’s college apps season for seniors and everyone’s getting ready for their Early Decision/Action applications. Some students are choosing to take a gap year, to stay close with family or to take a break from the online schooling. While it may seem easier for this year’s applicants, I’ve seen there’s still (more than just) a few struggles.

Like me, there are students who still have not gotten the chance to take the SAT. I’ve signed up for 3 SATs and all three were canceled, with the earliest one being in March. My earliest application due date is October 15 and the next SAT I’m signed up for is on October 3, which I’m still not sure is going to go through either. The thing I’m worried about most is having an SAT score that impacts my application. Most colleges have removed the SAT requirement to apply, but do students who already have their scores have a higher advantage to get into the school?

I’ve seen a change in students’ college choices, compared to their dream colleges from before quarantine started. We’ve talked about our college plans in classes and some students who wanted to study across the country or outside of it have backed away, opting for a college nearby to stay safe from Covid. Other students talked about staying home with family, choosing to save money and would rather pay when they’d actually be able to attend school on-campus.

Although, as for me, my top college is over 5,000 miles away, located in Tokyo, Japan. I’ve gone over the pros and cons about studying abroad during quarantine and I still want to attend. They accept admissions all year round, as students can choose to enter the fall, spring, or even summer semester. It’ll be a whole different process compared to the other colleges in the US that I’m applying to, like Fordham University in New York or the UC’s in California. The main difference between these applications is that I’ll be able to know whether I’ll be accepted or not 2-4 weeks after sending in my application. I feel it’s a lot better than having to sit on the edge and wait a few months.

Talking with your school counselor definitely helps a lot. It’s best to know that you’ve finished or are working on finishing all your graduation requirements and credits. Asking questions as well. Ask them about your letter of recommendation (as required for a lot of schools) and your grades! Giving them a fact sheet about you will help give them more insight of who you are, not just your standardized test scores and grades. I’ve been told colleges really look into the letter of recommendations, as it shows who you truly are, but in someone else’s eyes. 

All in all, college applications are just as stressful as they would be without quarantine. Worry about the deadlines that are the earliest, and make sure you apply early for the ones you really want to go to! Finish up your personal statements and make sure to get them read over so they’ll be as good as perfect for when turning them in. Good luck to all the seniors applying and I hope everything goes well!

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