Applying for College in the Time of Covid

Alisia Soto, Reporter

As a senior, walking into the guidance office to find out about the college application process, I immediately thought, “Wow, this is more complicated than I expected.” So I sat down with Ms. Dalton to answer some of my questions regarding the process.  

   In many ways, COVID-19 has taken over our lives, and for seniors, the college application process has been made even more stressful. Having to juggle all this online schoolwork, while also figuring out how to begin this new chapter of our lives can be very overwhelming, but it is important to remember that our guidance counselors are always around to help out and make this process less stressful. To start getting your college application going, you should visit Ms. Dalton, Mr. Little, or Mrs. Soury. 

   According to Ms. Dalton, the first step you should be taking is figuring out what you want to do. If you aren’t sure, there are lots of tests you can take online that will give you lists of potential careers based on your answers, which include your personality traits and preferred ways of working. These  career aptitude tests can give you an idea of what majors could interest you and what kind of careers they offer. After choosing what you would like to major in, you should start deciding what kind of location you would like to be in. Hot or cold, country or city, whatever location you believe suits you best. Making a final decision will be harder if your choices are really broad, so it’s better to narrow them down as best you can.  It’s important to match your current GPA and your SAT/ACT scores to the profile that the school wants.” When it comes to SATs or ACTs, some schools aren’t requiring them, so be sure to check with the schools you’re applying to.  If you took it already, you can still submit your scores.

     What if you’re torn between two majors? Well, you don’t have to go with just one. If you’re interested in multiple majors, you can do a double major or a major and a minor. You could even get three Bachelor’s degrees, or two Bachelor’s and a Master’s. Ms. Dalton said, “My best recommendation is if you have multiple areas, you could do a major and a minor and your bachelor’s degree and then in your master’s you can do something that pertains to that so that it’s more useful.” In some colleges you can also enter as undeclared or undecided and make your choice after you’ve taken some courses. 

    Visiting colleges is a really important step in choosing a school to go to, but Covid doesn’t allow for that. To compensate, colleges are offering virtual tours. Mrs. Dalton said, “A lot of them are doing virtual tours, that’s what most SUNY schools are doing. HOFSTRA today just did a presentation for some of the 12th grade with me, and they’re actually doing virtual tours everyday at 3.” Most colleges will have information about tours and how they are conducting them on their websites.  

As someone who has not completely decided on where I want to go, I wanted to know if  I am stuck at a college once I commit. Ms. Dalton said,  “No, not necessarily. Early decision is the binding decision. In some cases, you can get out of it. It’s not a recommended process to have to go through. I’m sure it’s stressful, and, you know, no one wants to be making those phone calls to get you out of a financial binding contract, but some students start at Suffolk and then they transfer. The only issue you might have going from a SUNY school to a private school, is sometimes the private schools want their own types of credits. So you might not get all the credits transferred, but you’re definitely not stuck there and most of the time you pay per semester.” 

     Ms. Dalton suggests that you shouldn’t stress about this college process. She said, “Just breathe. You’ll get through it. You should think of it as a team and group approach because you’re going to get help in English and from me and Mr. Little going over your essay.” You aren’t alone during this process, there is help being offered at every corner you turn. Your letters of recommendation are both a student and teacher effort. If you’re stressed out or don’t know what step to take next, talk to your guidance counselor and they won’t hesitate to lead you onto the right track.