Coronavirus alters college admissions process

Aly Ba ’20 on a virtual interview – Andrew Tornetta ’20

There is no “normal” anymore. Everyday lives have taken drastic changes. The coronavirus has completely shifted the gears of the world we live in over the past few months. Millions of Americans are forced to work from home, for companies, organizations, or schools. 

High school seniors may have already taken their last steps in their school hallways. They may not have a senior prom or graduation. However, most high school seniors, at this point in the year, have already received their acceptance letters and know what school they will attend next year. The same cannot be said for current juniors.

The college admissions process for the class of 2021 will see some highly unexpected challenges and circumstances over the next year. With all schools shut down across the country, this means no campus tours, a large factor in finding a best-fit school. Previous standardized testing has already been canceled.

“COVID-19 has negatively impacted my daily life,” Fifth Former Jake Maddaloni said. “The college process changed a lot for me.”  

Fifth Former Bryson Bernhardt said, “I went from probably the busiest I have ever been in my life to having absolutely nothing going on.” 

With clear implications on the college process for current juniors, many of this year’s senior class experienced some misfortune. Seniors who may not have a clear “first choice” school look forward to events like accepted students day, where they can spend time on the campus and meet professors. 

Sixth Former Scott Burke said, “I was definitely looking forward to the accepted students day.”

  “I greatly depended on college accepted student days,” Sixth Former Aly Ba said. “Many seniors do not have a chance to visit every school they applied to, so they will visit the schools that they were granted admissions to.”

  Burke added, “I think that juniors will see a difference in testing and how schools decide to accept students. GPA and extracurriculars will count more.”

Empty college classroom – Visviva via Wikimedia Commons

Without the opportunity to sit for a standardized test, how will schools approach the admissions process? Of course, many questions arise, and the college counselors have been very helpful in assisting students and answering their questions. The college counseling office has released a few official statements regarding some frequently asked questions. They can be found on the school’s website. The college counselors have also made available a page from SCOIR, the school’s official application, and admissions software, which features many statistics based upon a survey that they sent out to 3,301 students and 914 parents between March 24-30. 

The Haverford School Preparedness website page reads, “The College Counseling Office looks forward to fully supporting students and families throughout these next few months in any way that we can in order to keep students on track with their college search and applications.”

The College Counseling Office also added that “many colleges have dropped their testing requirements and will be test-optional for at least the 2020-2021 admissions cycle.”

Sure, this will be a difficult process and the future is unpredictable, as always.

Burke said, “As of now, I am not that concerned, it gives me more time with family.”

Author: Andrew Tornetta '20

Andrew Tornetta '20 is a student in the journalism seminar. He was in Mr. Keefe's Honors English IV class and won a Silver Key in the Scholastic Art & Writing competition. He is a student leader of Peer Counseling and has been on both the golf and crew teams for four years.