Navigating College Applications Behind a Screen

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Hannah Garlin

Senior Grace Garlin sits at her desk at her home in State College, PA on Saturday, Sept. 19. She is looking through her college applications of a total of 8 schools, and hopes to attend virtual tours of some of the colleges.

Hannah Garlin, Staff Writer

The college application process is a serious and stressful affair. It not only affects the four years following a high school senior’s life, but it also signals a new chapter of independence. The impact of COVID-19 has made applying to colleges even more difficult in such an unexpected situation.

The effects of the pandemic have increased the amount of stress on senior Grace Garlin while she has been focusing on her college search and applications.

“Applying to colleges during COVID has made me more nervous because I haven’t had anyone coaching me through the application process. I feel like I have to do it independently,” Garlin said.

SCASD is fully remote along with many colleges across the country. This makes college visits for students more challenging, and in many cases, they have to do so online. Just as remote learning is different from in-person classes, visiting a college virtually does not have nearly the same impact as physically walking around campus grounds. Garlin is planning to apply to schools that she has never had an opportunity to see. 

“I’ve been stressed out because it’s going to be hard to decide on what college I want to attend. I don’t know if I’m going to be able to go visit any and gain the full experience,” she said. This added hindrance has created more anxiety for Garlin.

The COVID-19 pandemic has left many people on edge due to the uncertainty it has caused. Through much thought, senior Molly Solo has decided to pursue early graduation from State High. 

“I don’t want to do online school at State High for an entire year, so I decided to apply to college for the spring semester,” she said. Solo was excited about getting back to in-person classes at the start of the year, but the quick change to fully remote learning altered her thoughts.

Senior year is something every high school student anticipates during the years leading up to it. But for the graduating class of 2021, senior year is looking to be one far different from what they’d been expecting. Students have lost the social aspect of school now that SCASD is fully online. Instead of driving to school and meeting friends in the parking lot, seniors are rolling out of bed and attending class from their computer. Garlin shared that she misses seeing her friends in school and being able to interact with other students. 

“I haven’t really been able to partake in any fun senior activities. I just want to enjoy my senior year with my friends,” she said.

The final year of high school is one of the most important and special years of your education, and the decision on which path to take in the future is an exciting aspect of senior year. 

“Being a senior involves new challenges and experiences that you don’t get to have every year,” Garlin said. 

With the uncharted territory this year’s graduating class is facing, one thing is for certain: The experience of this year and the decisions made about future endeavors will provide tremendous personal growth for every individual.

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