College Application Experiences During COVID-19


Millions of seniors across the United States have filled out their college applications. Due to the pandemic, many had to do it with just the help of their families. (Photo used by permission of DMCA)

College applications are an exciting and stressful part of many high school senior’s lives. The endless essays, sign-ups, questions, and the stress of the process plagues millions of American families. 

The pandemic threw a wrench in the already taxing process. Many students had to navigate this experience alone.

On top of the pandemic, beginning in May 2020, many colleges and universities announced they were waiving the requirement for the ACT and SAT scores for submission into their schools. 

That decision caused stress and relief to many students across the country. 

Leesville Road High School seniors shared their unique experiences these past few months filling out college applications. 

Our Students Perspective

An Easier Experience

Ivy Hadley is a senior at Leesville Road High School and her experience with college applications was like many.

“College applications were annoying and time-consuming,” Hadley typed over DMs

Hadley said she visited two of the schools she signed up for, but not the others. “I visited Elon and UNCG on official tours, but I haven’t done official tours for any others,” Hadley said. “I did more research on my own for the ones I’ve never been to.”

When asked if visiting those colleges before the pandemic affected which college she wants to attend the most, Hadley seemed to agree. 

“I absolutely want to go to Elon after that visit. I learned a lot about their campus life and that they are very accommodating to gender-expansive students like myself,” Hadley typed. “In general, I got a really good vibe from Elon. I don’t know quite as much about other schools.”

Hadley found the extra time allotted by the pandemic added more stress than comfort to her while filling out her college applications. “It added some stress because I had a lot of extra free time due to COVID,” Hadley wrote. “So, I felt like it HAD to be spent answering the questions and writing my essays.”

The waiving of providing scores for the SAT and ACT relieved many students in the United States, like Ivy.

“It relieved a lot of stress because I felt like I’d be judged more off character than grades,” Hadley typed. “I still took the ACT and SAT, but I made sure to put a whole lot more effort into essays.”

Added on Stress

Alexis Baudreau had a different experience from Hadley throughout filling out her college applications. 

”Online applications were stressful, as there weren’t any meetings with an advisor available,” Baudreau typed over text. “The emails I received just directed me to things I had already seen on the website.”

Baudreau applied for a college she has not toured, with intentions to transfer. “I applied for Wake Tech, knowing that my plan is to transfer to a college like UNC Charlotte or NC State after I get the basics done,” Baudreau typed. “I haven’t been able to tour Wake Tech’s campus, and it’s a little stressful knowing that I don’t know where any of my classes will be or even what campus they’re on.”

Baudreau had a different stance than Hadley on universities and colleges waiving SAT and ACT scores.

“It was irritating knowing that the hard work I put into the ACT didn’t matter,” Baudreau typed. “I took that test before the pandemic, and I was really proud of the score I got.”

Baudreau said the waiving added on more stress than the relief it provided for others on one application. “It honestly gave me more stress, since the application I followed didn’t say if I needed to submit the ACT or not.”

Another Case of Relief

Charlotte Davis was another Leesville Road High School senior with a less stressful experience.

“Applying for colleges in this environment personally was not too bad,” Davis typed over DMs. “Being at home gave me more time to fill them out.”

When asked if she has ever visited some of the colleges and universities she applied for, Davis said yes. “I have visited a few colleges I applied for,” Davis typed. “Those colleges are ASU, UNCG, and Lees Mcrae.”

For the rest of the colleges she applied for, Davis had to put in more work to learn about them. “I just didn’t know as much about the [other] colleges, so I had to do a bit more research on them.”

Visiting some of the colleges she applied to does affect where she wants to go. “Knowing more about a school and visiting the campus helps you get a feel of what the college is like and the vibe to it,” Davis typed.

The lack of requirement for SAT and ACT scores relieved Davis greatly. “Oh my gosh, I was so relieved. I felt like colleges shouldn’t judge me based on one test so I was super happy that they did not require it,” Davis typed.

“It relieved a lot of stress in the process because I felt like I was more proud of how my application looked and those scores wouldn’t change how the colleges viewed me.”

Overall, students got through college application season during a pandemic and are just patiently awaiting their acceptance letters in the following months. 


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