How COVID affects college admissions

Nadiyah Headen

Staff Writer

Since the pandemic began, countless things have been modified and changed to meet the needs of people from young to elderly. College admissions have undergone many changes, including some that current Douglas Anderson seniors may not be aware of.  

Israel Haynes, a senior in Musical Theater at DA, is planning to attend Boston Conservatory at Berklee. He was only aware of the GPA requirement. It’s not based on academics and academic abilities; however, they are still important. Berklee is an art school, so requirements are likely to be different than regular schools. Test scores, recommendation letters, personal statements, SAT/ACT scores are all optional according to Boston Conservatory. Students are encouraged to submit them if they feel any of those options contribute to their academic strengths. Julliard has the same requirements. For local colleges, like UNF, SAT and/or ACT scores are required, personal statements are optional, and recommendation letters aren’t needed. At FAMU the requirements have similarities, but two letters of recommendation and a 500-word essay are required. 

DA School Counselor Allison Gellers gave insight about the modifications to admission requirements. The test requirements for applications were the biggest change to college admissions. Last year student test scores took a dive, so most colleges made the inclusion of test scores optional. “Covid proved to colleges that they could waive test scores, but it isn’t the same for schools in Florida…the low-test scores are not an accurate take on students’ abilities and what they can do outside of academics…test scores don’t equal success,” says Gellers. 

“Colleges can’t exactly lower costs. If anything, they’ll probably need to increase costs.” She says. For a lot of colleges there was a dip in students’ admissions due to the pandemic or not having the proper funding. This also caused a ripple effect because a lot of college professors got laid off. As for scholarships, “Policies haven’t really changed. The policies are still test score based, so students still need to submit their test scores.” Financial aid is still a priority and scholarship programs still require students to submit test scores in order to be considered. 

College essays are another key part of college applications. Essays are usually optional, but since test scores may not reflect what students want, Gellers encourages students to submit an essay for colleges to see beyond test scores. “It shows the students’ true abilities,” she says. 

Haynes’ tip for seniors who are applying to college is “Ask for help! If you need help, don’t be afraid to ask.” Gellers adds, “Do your research!”. She stresses the importance of researching colleges and all they have to offer.  “I hear conversations around the schools with students and they’re talking about it, but they’re not having the right conversations.” Students are lacking the proper information because of the lack of research, increasing time crunch to apply and pressure to apply to big colleges. She says to take tours and talk to college representatives, but most importantly, find a college that fits! 

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