This article dives into just a few of the many ways that the COVID-19 pandemic has made preparing and applying for college more difficult for this year’s high school juniors and seniors.
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted virtually every aspect of our day to day lives, from the way we interact with our friends and family to the ways we work, eat, and play. But for high school students especially, the pandemic has also had a significant impact on their ability to plan for the next step in their education journey: college.
High school seniors have, so far, generally been the most impacted by the effects of COVID-19. All of this craziness is happening during the time where they are supposed to be balancing finishing up their high school career with things such as finishing up standardized tests, applying for college, visiting schools, and of course, making plans for how they are going to work to afford their impending college tuition.
All of these pieces in the puzzle that current high school seniors are planning for have been massively interrupted due to many factors such as:
Lack of ability to travel
The pandemic has, of course, made traveling anywhere (whether it’s to the grocery store or across the country) a great safety risk. This means that many current high school seniors will have a harder time taking tours of the schools that they are applying/accepted to, ultimately making the decision of where to enroll in a much more difficult one. To combat this, many colleges and universities have started to offer virtual tours, but, the consensus among most high school seniors is that they certainly don’t compare to being able to step on campus in person.
Family member’s loss of jobs
The unemployment rates since the start of the pandemic have risen to astronomical numbers, and unfortunately, many families with high school and college-aged young adults have not been excluded. This means that many of these students will have more trouble figuring out how they are going to pay the rising prices of college tuition, room and board, textbooks, and more.
Test center closure
While perhaps some high school seniors have finished with the standardized testing process, many were counting on taking tests at the start of their senior year. With lockdowns and restrictions in place, getting this done has proved to be, once again, a very difficult task for high school seniors. If a senior doesn’t have a current score that they are satisfied with using to submit with their applications, the question then becomes “should I even submit a score at all?” as many schools across the country are becoming “test-optional”. However, there is still a cloud of mystery surrounding the logistics of not submitting test scores, and students are left wondering if this will ultimately hurt their chances of getting accepted.
Difficulty balancing the application process with virtual school.
Another problem that high school seniors are encountering is the stress of balancing applying to colleges with virtual/remote school. After speaking to several high school seniors, I was informed that school being remote has certainly not led to it being any easier. In fact, teachers have been using this as an opportunity to provide students with even more work, which ultimately cuts into the time that students can spend on perfecting their college essays, sending off applications, and doing other essential college planning.
So, you may be wondering, what can high school seniors do during these crazy times to take action towards reducing at least some of the stresses that they may be feeling? When it comes to easing some of the financial burdens that COVID-19 has caused, one solution is to apply for scholarships! Scholarship money is money that, unlike loans, does not need to be paid back ever. This means that all high school seniors should start, if they haven’t already, with applying for scholarships to help ease some of the impending financial burdens that they are soon to face upon graduating from high school and starting college.
The process of applying for scholarships may seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be! Check out this post on great scholarship opportunities for high school seniors to help get you started.