Life Of A Brave: How COVID-19 Has Impacted College Admissions

by Jackson Smith

There has been very little change in the college application process for Bosco students despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to college counselor Ms. Alyssa Skipper. Yet, there’s been a seismic shift in which colleges Bosco students have chosen to apply.

Ms. Skipper explained that students have been looking into backup options much more. Additionally, people are looking to stay closer to home, choosing local schools such as Cal States and UCs, while also choosing to look at community colleges more. This is partially because the pandemic has put financial stress on people, but also because staying in-state and going to a community college significantly decreased the overall expenses of college. 

Even though community colleges are being looked at more in the wake of COVID-19, in recent years, it was already becoming a more popular option than ever before for Bosco students because some have not been entirely ready for a big four year college, either financially or emotionally, according to Ms. Skipper. Additionally, community college can be a stepping stone for students in need of further academic development. 

The application process has undergone slight changes for the class of 2021, and possibly for 2022 as well. Namely, the SAT and ACT are no longer required for almost all colleges. However, students can choose to give their scores for those tests if they so desire, according to Ms. Skipper. 

Ms. Skipper believes that the lack of SAT and ACT requirements may not go back to how they were, at least for some colleges. It is largely because colleges nationally are reporting record high numbers of applications from the past year because the SAT and ACT requirements previously acted as a barrier for some students to apply to certain schools. The schools are realizing that they can get more applicants, and strong applicants at that, and the colleges would not want that dynamic to disappear after COVID-19 by reinstating SAT and ACT requirements. 

Other than the SAT and ACT part of the application, the process is generally the same, but in the absence of standardized test scores, the other parts of the applications are going to be weighed more heavily. This means that the essays students write, as well as the extracurriculars activities in which they partake, are going to be scrutinized in finer detail. 

According to Ms. Skipper, scholarships have changed for students in a much bigger way than before. Athletic scholarships could be more difficult for students to come by because of the delayed sports seasons and financial hits that colleges have endured. Some other states started sports seasons earlier or even at a regular pace, meaning that colleges have been looking at some players out-of-state for a significantly longer time than Bosco student-athletes. 

Furthermore, the way colleges look at the AP exams has even changed, according to Ms. Skipper. Students have done better this last year on the AP tests than before the pandemic, and this was because the college board did not expect that classes would get through the full amount of curriculum.

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