Concerns over college apps

Amid concerns over the cancellation of standardized tests and other college-related activities this year that present potential disadvantages for seniors, many universities have been more lenient in this year’s application requirements.  In consideration of the current circumstances, the UC and Cal State systems have temporarily suspended letter grade requirements for some college preparatory courses and have eliminated standardized testing requirements.  Many seniors expressed their gratitude for these accommodating changes to the application process.  “The decision to make the SAT optional made the process less stressful for me,” Emma Han said via Instagram.  But the elimination of the standardized tests wasn’t always handled smoothly.  “Students went from having their SAT or ACT exams scheduled for specific dates and locations to having the exams canceled as late as the morning of the exam,” GLC Kevin Patterson said. “Some students even went through the struggle of actually arriving at their test location to learn that morning, from a sign on the door, that the exam had been canceled.”   The COVID-19 pandemic has also eliminated many of the gateways to college admissions, including personal interviews, in-person college visits and college fairs.  “Having no in-person interviews and college fairs was definitely a loss,” Lucas Wang said via Instagram. “Students had less opportunity to learn about individual colleges and rethink their summer plans.”  Wang’s vacation plans originally included an in-person internship at Boeing Company. However, due to COVID-19, the internship was cancelled. As a result, he had to come up with a different, equally-productive way to spend his summer. “Being socially distanced most definitely made the process harder.” he said. “Finding motivation was taxing, and in order to spend the free time wisely, I decided to teach myself website development and joined online coding competitions.”  While colleges have done their part in making the journey less taxing, the new normal presents a lot of unprecedented changes to everyday activities that were taken for granted prior to lockdown.  “The truth is that it’s infinitely harder to make small talk about college with classmates being socially distanced.” Wang said. “I trust that having more people– not just close friends– to talk to or even just complain about college apps would help me find that drive to start and finish my essays.”