The Covid-19 pandemic is confronting every aspect of our lives with unprecedented challenges, including its drastic impact on the college process for both juniors and seniors. Juniors are stressing to figure out where they are going to apply to college, if they are going to take the ACT/SAT, and how the whole process is going to look different considering the pandemic. This is a stressful time and it has been difficult for many students to stay motivated throughout everything that is going on both in the world and at school.
Although many colleges have made the shift to becoming test optional, test anxiety is still a struggle many juniors are dealing with. Northwest student German C. ’21 feels that “Covid-19 has been an absolute nightmare for my testing plan.” He continues to say that his “strategy was originally to study intensely in the few weeks before my test but now that it’s TBD, my study plans have been extremely disrupted.” Since so much is up in the air right now, it’s hard to be prepared just because we simply don’t know what is going to happen in these next few months. This uncertainty and chaos is why many schools have made the shift to test optional. Northwest student Aaron T. ’21 feels “grateful that colleges are being empathic to students during this time” which he says is relieving because he was “supposed to take the ACT during June which has been rescheduled and has now changed my plans on studying, where I am taking the test, etc.” A Junior at Garfield, Olivia W. is glad schools are turning to test optional as she believes that “testing is an inefficient measurement of one’s intelligence.” Although numerous students have taken the SAT or ACT already, many are still stressed about the lack of ability to take it again. Ballard student Sofia E. 21’ says she was “only able to take one SAT. If I can’t find another testing time, I won’t be able to improve my score or super score for the schools who do that.”
Another cause of stress has been the inability to visit campuses in-person; with travel restrictions, juniors have to rely solely on other sources, such as the internet, to help them construct their college application list. Touring campuses is a privilege that many students aren’t able to utilize, so for many this doesn’t change their college process. Olivia W. talks about her personal views on campus tours: “As useful as college websites can be for understanding the feel of schools, there really is nothing like an in-person tour. I think that physically being in a place and interacting with the people around you is super important.” Colleges have been constantly improving their websites, especially in this time where everyone is unable to travel, but these websites don’t always give you the best understanding of a school. This of course isn’t important for everyone including German C. who says “touring campuses may be helpful to people who like to get a physical feel for things, but personally I think research should suffice.” Everyone’s college process is unique and everyone requires different things, which is why Covid-19 is affecting everybody differently.
Unfortunately this process is going to be stressful, which is why having a strong support system is so important. Aaron T. feels that “Northwest college counselors have done a good job communicating with the juniors on what they know about the future of our college process.” Aaron also noted, however, that “we need to keep in mind that this is a new experience for them as well. They are also having a hard time answering all of our questions, which is understandable.” Sofia E talks about her lack of support at her school: “Since I go to public school, there are so many kids and not enough resources, which is very stressful for the juniors. I feel almost helpless in this current situation, but I also feel confident that everything will be okay.” I think it is important for Northwest students to recognize the privilege we have when it comes to the college resources and support we are receiving both during this period and regularly. Nonetheless, I agree with Sofia in that everything will work out despite all the chaos we are currently experiencing. The best we can do for right now is to stay positive and stay informed!