Exploring COVID-19 Changes in College Admissions Process

With all the COVID-19 changes going on in the world over the last year, the college admissions process has had to adapt as well. Changes in the applications regarding standardized testing and tours of the school are two of the most prevalent changes. 

Standardized testing has been a topic of debate for decades, with people arguing over whether they should be required to be sent to colleges in the application process. The recent COVID-19 pandemic has sped up the decision however, with a majority of schools transitioning to a test optional model for the next year, and a couple even going beyond that timeline. Some people felt this change was coming for some time, but because it became increasingly difficult for students to take standardized tests, the decision was made for the schools to go test optional. 

In-person tours are quickly becoming a thing of the past as well. The restrictions and guidelines for tours vary by school, but many schools have suspended in-person tours until further notice. This change has certainly affected some students in their application processes. 

“Seeing how students interact with the campus is always something interesting to see when touring a college,” said Thomas Carroll, a senior at Perkiomen Valley. “Virtual visits don’t have that same affect.” 

Motivation to apply to certain schools has changed due to the way visits are conducted now, too.

“My motivation has been affected because I have not been able to tour some campuses so I can’t get a good feel of what it’s really like,” said Eddie Corcoran, a senior at Perkiomen Valley.

The recruitment process for student athletes is another area of concern, especially when a student is considering what specific colleges can offer in their athletic programs. 

“You have to rely a lot more on the film you’ve gotten from past games since playing opportunities are slowly slimming,” Carroll said. 

The students are not the only ones adjusting to these changes. Counselors at Perkiomen Valley, say their jobs have changed drastically from the new process. 

“The entire process has seemed to become more daunting,” said Perkiomen Valley High School Counselor, Ms. Moliver. “I am becoming more vigilant and we have learned to become more resourceful as a result.” 

Counselors want students to remember that they are available to make this process easier. “It is certainly an added step for students to email their counselor with questions, but we are still here and we want to help you,” Ms. Moliver said.

The present-day application process has left students in a variety of unique situations regarding their progress in finding the right school. 

“The new process makes me feel uncertain about making my future choice for a college,” Carroll said. 

As more research is done on COVID-19, there is hope that in-person touring can resume for students seeking an in-depth look at a college or university.