Coronavirus changing the way we pick a college


Makenzie Gagne

Students look through college website for virtual Admitted Students Day sign-ups.

Seniors across the country have been frantically watching as all their final high school events are being cancelled, but one thing that has really thrown them for a loop is how this pandemic has affected their college decisions.

For those of us who are planning to go to college, this time of year is crucial to our decision making. Being able to visit the school, get a feel for campus life, or going on tours can be determining factors to someone’s decision. Due to the outbreak, we are left with virtual tours and Zoom meetings with professors.

On paper, colleges and universities do a great job of advertising themselves, but you won’t know if that school is for you until you physically go there and get a feel for what it’s like.

Senior Sam Seibert had been deciding between UVM and UNH, but was finding the process difficult due to the quarantine.

“There’s less time to see your schools,” Seibert said, “and if you want to go back you can’t really do that.”

What has also been challenging for Seibert is that he now has “too much time to think.”

“I could choose one [school] one day and then the next day be completely different,” Seibert said. “I just have way too much time to second-guess myself and keep going back and forth. I bet for some people though it definitely helps, giving them a chance to think.”

This has been the case for senior Kelly Calawa who was looking at UNH, Messiah college, Wheaton college, and just recently committed to Grove City College.

“It forced me to change that mindset of thinking ‘this is so unfair and this is stressful and overwhelming’ into ‘let’s look at this realistically and do pros and cons’,” Calawa said. “That just made the process kinda easier or easier than what it had been.”

Calawa also says that without the distractions of sports and the usual schoolwork, college has come to the forefront of her mind.

Regardless if you are having a hard time or not, there are options to help you make a decision.

What colleges are doing

Since most campuses are closed, schools are thinking of alternative ways for people to get a feel for the schools.

Calawa was looking at UNH, Messiah college, Wheaton college, and just recently committed to Grove City College. She said that one thing that really helped her decide was the virtual admitted students events. Her college offered everything through an app.

“That was huge because it was basically each night had a different theme to it, so one night was academics, another night was about campus life, and it’s a religious school so one night they talked about worship and stuff on campus,” Calawa said. “The president of the college was interviewing professors or coaches or past students/alumni and had them talk about their experience or specialty. It gave me a great feel for the school.”

Senior Julia Ethier who was looking at UNH and ECU before the pandemic, has also been taking advantage of the virtual campus experiences.

“Both have offered virtual tours and admitted students days and both email me often to keep me posted,” Ethier said. “They also keep active on social media.”

Doing everything virtually is now our new normal, so we have to take advantage of the resources our colleges and universities are giving us.

What to do to stay organized

For some of us, being home has been a cluster of emotions and unorganized schedules. Guidance counselors are still available even though we are not in school. If you are having trouble with finding time to do things college related, email or call someone that can help plan out what needs to be done.

If you’re looking to do this on your own but still have trouble staying organized, printing out a paper planner can help keep track of deadlines for registrations to Admitted Students days, scholarship opportunities, and deposit due dates.

Talk to friends

It may sound silly, but if a friend has visited a campus that you didn’t get the chance to, they could be a great resource. Pick their brains and ask questions that you would’ve asked if you were on a tour.

With all this time on our hands, everyone is texting or Facetiming throughout the day. Take some time to talk about what other people prioritize in a college so you can get a better understanding of what you prefer at your future school.

Regardless of how you’re feeling about the current college predicament your in, just know there are options to help you make a decision. Also, make sure to  update Naviance so Lancer Spirit can put you into our college map.