COVID-19 Impacts College Applications


Elizabeth Medina

Senior, Elizabeth Medina, at Godinez Fundamental High School, works on her UC application that is due on November 30th. Picture taken on October 6, 2020.

Natalie Rivera and Aryam Suarez

In the midst of a global pandemic, the 2020-2021 school year brings new challenges to seniors juggling classes and college applications. 

Every year, from the beginning of the school year in August to differing deadlines November to January, seniors face a crucial process: college application season. It is a stressful and busy time for high school seniors who tackle completing college applications with limited support due to the restrictions of the pandemic.

AVID and T-Z counselor at Godinez Fundamental High School (GFHS), Dr. Veronica Chavez, is concerned that seniors will not ask for help and submit wrong information on their college or financial aid applications. Chavez sees that communication is the biggest challenge students face currently with everything virtual. 

“Seniors are getting multiple emails a day and do not respond to our emails or communicate with us,” said Chavez.

Chavez stressed that some emails counselors send get lost in students’ inboxes and other students are not checking their email or logging in to counselor’s office hours.

She advises that seniors communicate with their counselor, attend College Late Nights on Thursday’s after school to complete their college applications, and join Mr. Jimmy Bravo’s Google Classroom. Plus, she strongly recommends that students check their counselor’s website to make an appointment for more information about college eligibility and the application process. 

Senior, Elizabeth Medina, is one of those prospective college students who is applying to: UCI, UC Davis, UCLA, UC Santa Barbara, Cal State Fullerton, Cal State Long Beach, Loyola University, and Claremont Mckenna College. She plans to major in biological sciences.

At the moment I do feel a bit concerned regarding college applications because everything is virtual”

— Jazzlyn Hernandez

Medina is concerned over receiving help during college application season, particularly applying for financial aid.

“I feel kind of overwhelmed and scared to input private information when I cannot have that face to face help,” said Medina.

Medina found Senior Push, a day organized to give seniors advice on college applications, extremely helpful. Her biggest takeaway from attending Senior Push was receiving insight into the process of how financial aid works and how college admissions will be accepting applications, due to the SAT/ACT being optional.

The majority of universities and colleges have gone test optional for the Class of 2021 as SAT/ACT testing centers across the country are closed or canceled dates due to COVID-19. The change arrived quickly as local and state government attempted to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Testing conditions violate social distancing guidelines.

Senior Tammy Tran was supposed to take the SAT in November.

Tran is applying to: UCLA, UCI, UC Berkeley, UCR, and UCSD, with hopes to study psychology. She feels stressed because of the mix of school work as well as college applications.

”I am nervous that universities are going to take class courses, grades, and essays into consideration more because before they would also look at SAT/ACT scores,” said Tran.

Senior Jazzlyn Rodriguez is applying to Cal State Fullerton, SAC and the University of Utah to study as a labor and delivery nurse. She’s agitated with all the FAFSA, school work and keeping up with online information college sessions. 

Rodriguez will not be submitting SAT/ACT scores because with the constant pressure of work, tutoring, and studying she did not take the test. 

“At the moment I do feel a bit concerned regarding college applications because everything is virtual and I’m scared to put in my personal information or doing something wrong,” said Rodriguez.

As deadlines for college applications edge closer for seniors, it is clear that the coronavirus continues to affect many aspects of daily high school life. From balancing school, homework, and college applications, seniors do their best to adjust to the “new normal.”  

But even with a different kind of application season, Chavez stresses, “Seniors do NOT wait until the last minute to reach out to your counselor, UC and CSU applications are due November 30th.”