The college applications dilemma


Kaelyn Savard

The effects of COVID-19 have brought new challenges to the already full plate of Foothill Tech’s class of 2021, but actions are being to taken to adjust to the times, specifically through events, such as virtual tours and information webinars, in order to ensure that seniors have everything they need to make the best choice this application season.

Nicole Stidham, Reporter

Just as the seniors at Foothill Technology High School (Foothill Tech) log in to Zoom to begin their final year of high school, college applications for the fall of 2021 are lurking around the corner, on the minds of many. The COVID-19 pandemic has intensified anxiety for the class of 2021 in the college application season, and for some, it has become the most stressful part of their year.

Many seniors share a feeling of uncertainty because the college application process looks different than in past years, due to the pandemic. Students are missing out on-campus tours, college fairs and some are rethinking where they want to attend college.

Elise Paul ‘21 is struggling with the idea of never seeing a campus before applying to it. She has had the opportunity to visit a few, but when she visited the campuses there were, “not many students on campus so [she didn’t] really get the college life feel but it was still enjoyable.”

Audrey Vrablik ‘21 definitely shares the frustration with the class of 2021 and is struggling with finding time to fill out the applications themselves.

“The pandemic has given me so much time that I kind of use that time to procrastinate, and I don’t really have a set schedule or time to do my applications,” Vrablik stated. 

The pandemic has prevented many seniors from taking the ACT and SAT exams, due to test center closings. Because of this, many schools across the country have adopted a test-optional or test-blind policy for admissions this year. The test-optional and test-blind policies have taken some stress off of students because colleges will be forced to look at other factors of the application instead of merely looking at test scores. 

Vrablik is still nervous that she, “will not get in anywhere,” because colleges are now more than ever focused on essays, community service and GPA. She continued that not being accepted to a school, “is not something I [she] should be worried about because I [she] applied to many colleges,” but she is still nervous that colleges will be more focused on the essays.

Foothill Tech’s own counselors and teachers are helping students ease their stress about college applications by helping out with college essays, applications, letters of recommendation, transcripts and any other questions that students may have about the process. 

The Foothill Tech media center has taken their normal college activities and made them available to students and families virtually. The media center has hosted many virtual college visits, webinars about different applications and financial aid meetings. 

Paul is very pleased with the resources that are being offered. She feels that “the emails sent out about college fairs or tours help me stay informed on what colleges to look into.”

In their closing remarks, Vrablik and Paul gave some advice for students who are feeling stressed during the college applications season. 

Vrablik encourages students to, “just get it done as early as possible.” She also made a suggestion for the juniors in high school to start writing their college essays the summer before  their senior year, which will “ease the stress a lot.” 

Paul agrees that getting applications done as soon as possible is a key way to not get too stressed. 

She added that students should, “just take it day by day and do as much as you can in one sitting,” and remember that everything they “have done in high school has led [them] to this and now it’s just time to show off.”

“You will know when it’s perfect and truly reflects you as a person,” Paul concluded.

What do you think?