How COVID-19 Has Affected College Decisions

Sophia Gesmundo, Co-Editor in Chief

Senior year for high school students has always been a year of uncertainty and anticipating change. However, for this year’s 2021 graduating class Coronavirus has brought about an even larger swell of unforeseen obstacles, changes, and variables, especially when it comes to post-senior year plans.

“Last year the pandemic really started to take hold and impact higher education in the middle of March,” recalled Roger J. Thompson, vice president for student services and enrollment management at the University of Oregon, to US News. “Given that everything was such a significant pivot, such a change, and the lack of knowledge about the virus or where it was going, we made the decision” and moved the May 1st decision deadline to September 1st. Many schools made similar changes in 2020 with a number of schools granting deadline flexibility when it came to decisions from incoming students. However, this year most schools returned to the May 1st deadline, meaning students were given no extra time to evaluate their big decision.

One of the factors caused by Coronavirus that made college decisions much trickier this year was the lack of regular tours and visits that would take place in the past. For students looking to head out-of-state travel was restricted and difficult, especially for those with at risk loved ones. Many colleges and Universities provided virtual tours and videos, however, there is nothing to match the in-person feel of a campus. When students were able to visit colleges, tours and guides were limited in what they could provide and show of the full student experience. With this limited exposure to campus and restrictions on where and how students were able to travel, getting a full feel of the schools they wished to attend was near impossible, straining the college decisions of many. Making a life changing decision is difficult when the outcome is unknown.