Seniors adjust post-graduation plans due to COVID restrictions


   Restaurants are being forcibly closed, strict social distancing rules are being enforced in schools and workplaces, and almost all indoor activities have been shut down. The cause of all this mayhem? COVID-19. Like everything else, colleges are not immune to this pandemic, and are finding their own unique ways to get by. 

   “We anticipate a lot of schools will continue with online classes for a while,” said Mrs. Roberts, the Freshman and Business Academy counselor. “Most college tours are being done virtually, and there are no big college fairs.”

   COVID-19 is still going strong, scaring many students away from any kind of in person learning.

   “I’m nervous of COVID-19 still being here due to the number of cases that are on the rise,” said Trevor Dark, senior. “If I want to go to college, I don’t want to contract it, plus it would have a big impact on my schooling and my career.”

   According to recent polls done by, eleven percent of highschool seniors who were planning on going to college before COVID-19 have decided against it due to the virus. 

   “We are still encouraging students to go to college,” said Mrs. Roberts, “but a lot of students are planning on staying home and going to Rock Valley College.”

   Offering more online classes is not the only change colleges are making. More than one thousand colleges nationwide are now “Test Optional,” or no longer requiring SAT or ACT results in order to apply. 

   “I don’t think that requiring or not requiring the SAT will impact a student’s ability to get into college very much,” said Mrs. Roberts. “Some colleges (like NIU) had already moved away from using SAT scores, because a student’s GPA is a better indicator as to how well they do in college.”

   There are many different titles for schools no longer requiring standardized test scores. Some colleges call themselves “Test Flexible,” making ACT and SAT scores optional if a student has a certain GPA. Some colleges are taking this idea even further, calling themselves “Test Blind,” and permanently removing the need to submit test scores.

   “I really like the idea of colleges not needing SAT scores,” said Azelia Hinton, senior. “There are a lot of people who are extremely smart, but horrible test takers, so the fact that colleges are accepting people based on their brains and not their ability to take a test really joys me.” 

   Colleges are doing this because students did not have a chance to take their tests due to the pandemic. Since the pandemic, applications from students to colleges now vary widely, as students are missing as much as a semester of grades or their grades were switched to a pass/fail format.

   “I think I am doing the best I can in my applications, considering last year’s shut down,” said Drew Stadelman, senior. “It would have been nice to go through life normally and possibly gain valuable experience that could be used within my applications. However, I think being stuck at home has benefitted me personally. Being at home has made me make the most out of what I can, which shows colleges what kind of person I am and helps me stand out more in my applications.”

   Most colleges now offer some sort of online classes. Before COVID-19, colleges spent less than 5% of their budgets on online capabilities. Now some colleges are fully online. For students like Drew Stadelman, this is not a desirable alternative.

   “I would rather have all my classes in person,” said Stadelman. “I want to go into engineering, and engineering is a lot of hands-on work, so being in-person would definitely allow me to gain a better understanding of what I am learning than being online would.”

   Even as students head to college this year, what next year’s colleges will look like is still up in the air.

   “I am nervous about COVID-19,” said Hinton, “I honestly can’t tell if it will still be here by the time I go to college. I wonder sometimes how it will work out and affect the lives of students.”