Seniors Feeling Ill-Prepared Amidst College Applications


An executive order closing all K-12 public schools in March had students gleeful for an early spring break. However, this has drastically changed the daily routines and lives of all students. Many students anticipate their senior year as one of the best years in school. With pep rallies, football games, prom, and senior exclusive events, many students await their final high school year. Now, the senior class of 2021 is unsure if they will ever be able to go back to high school again. These high school seniors are facing challenges that have never been faced before.
One of the most stressful and tedious segments of senior year is preparing for college applications. With the stress of decision making and preparations, the seniors this year are being faced with even more challenges. Many students are feeling unprepared and at a disadvantage to previous years’ seniors.
“I haven’t been able to reach out to my teachers and counselors freely, making communication difficult,” senior Aidan Conley said.
Students aren’t the only ones being overwhelmed with the application process. Most teachers and counselors, who are already completely bombarded with a large workload, provide help to seniors by writing college recommendation letters. Being able to consistently communicate electronically between students and faculty has become even harder as the whole senior class relies on the same staff as the rest of the grade.
“Covid-19 has delayed standardized testing and caused many students to only have taken the SAT once or not at all,” said senior Zach Rotter. shares his concerns about subject tests and the SAT. Many students were limited to taking their SATs, ACTs, and subject tests, students taking it once or not at all. Pre-covid, high school students were not able to use their full attempts before submitting it to their college resumes. With the 2021 seniors only being able to take the tests in selective numbers, their succession rate has decreased.
Many resume-building activities and experiences were also cancelled. Seniors like Conley, who had plans to visit Ireland on a study abroad program with Notre Dame, had most of their plans cancelled. Every hands-on or travel experience was cancelled or postponed indefinitely.
Students were also unable to tour colleges and had to fully rely on virtual tours.
“Since in-person college visits are cancelled, it’s hard to grasp the environment of the campus,” senior William Song said. The majority of college visits solely consisted of a virtual orientation, deterring decision making for many seniors. The atmosphere of a college campus can be a push or pull factor for any college touring student. However, this experience was taken away for seniors picking colleges this year.
On the other hand, students also share positive outtakes. Students are grateful that deadlines were pushed back since it allowed for more time to perfect their resumes.
“Covid-19 has positively affected students who are not confident in their standardized testing scores, as they can apply without their scores and have better chances and opportunities,” Brian Blackman said.
For students who lacked extracurricular experience, they felt relief as most seniors could not partake in leadership positions or club experiences which usually boost applications.
“Since the majority of the students lack activities on their resumes, it gives students more of a fairground during the application process” Rotter said.
However, Covid-19 has encouraged more students to actively participate in more virtual extracurricular activities. All club meetings are virtual and only meet around once a month for 30 minutes. This gives students more opportunities to be active in the community. Students like Blackman have acquired jobs or internships.
While it is unfortunate that seniors are missing out on highly anticipated events, these restrictions were made with public safety as the first priority. Seniors at Marriotts Ridge have faced challenges and setbacks confidently and successfully.