COVID Hinders College Options

By Lucas Walters

It’s college application season, one of the busiest times of the year for high school seniors across the country. As many Oak Hall seniors steadily work through the college application process, there have been new issues on the minds of many applicants. Brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, there are new concerns about what college is going to look like for the graduating class of 2021.

“I can see a situation where a student might think, ‘Okay, yes, I like the University of California but do I wanna go all the way out there just to do online courses and stay in a dorm if I’m getting only a partial experience.’”

Despite these ideas about online schooling and students’ feelings about moving out of state, Director of College Counseling at Oak Hall, Myronee Simpson says that she is still helping to facilitate applications to many different schools.

“Thinking about my conversations with seniors, not so much. I’ve seen a wide range of applicants who are applying in state and out of state.”

This being the case, Simpson is anticipating that the progression of COVID-19 over the next semester will have a large impact on what schools students choose to attend.

“I think what’s gonna take place is that students are still applying to schools in state and out of state, and then I think what will happen – What I anticipate will happen is that, and this is kind of also predicting on how COVID progresses in the second semester, as we’re going through the year. What I think will happen is that when students in the spring get their decisions and they’re weighing in state and out of state options, I think what will take place is [COVID] might then factor in. If they’re thinking, ‘Okay maybe I don’t wanna go off, go too far away’, or for reasons health wise, financial wise, they may be looking to stay in state.”

Lastly, Simpson commented on the constantly evolving environment of many universities as they try to overcome the pandemic.

“For colleges, I know a lot of colleges that reopened had to put protocols [in place] in terms of testing, social distancing, they’ve altered the semesters. I know there are schools that after Thanksgiving this year they’re not bringing their students back, they’re going to have to send their students home for the duration of the break. So, schools have had to alter their semester protocols”

Thanks to the help that Simpson has been able to provide, most students are progressing steadily through the process of transitioning into higher education and applying to a wide range of institutions. Although much of the impact of the pandemic on students’ choices remains to be seen, it is clear that there will be new issues on the minds of students when considering their options.