COVID’s Impact on Applying to College


Senior Cailin Proctor holds her acceptance letter to LSU.

Carly Browder, Staff Writer

Life during a pandemic has caused many changes in society, especially for the senior classes of 2020 and 2021.

The college application season still came around the same time of year in 2020, but with some slight changes.

Many colleges, such as Clemson, LSU, and even Dartmouth have made submitting SAT and ACT scores optional.

A common essay topic this year was, “How has COVID-19 affected you before and during the college application process?”

Many students could not include extracurricular activities on their applications, such as community service hours, sporting seasons and mission trips.

According to AP News, Anthony Correra, a high school senior in Southern California, had his high school football career cut in half. That is half the game highlights that he could have submitted to college recruiters. Correra is an all-season athlete at a school right outside of Los Angeles, California.

Many seniors here at James Island have also experienced similar situations to Anthony Correra.

Cailin Proctor, a current senior at James Island, said, “I missed out on going with Sea Coast Church to South Africa for a mission trip last summer. I also didn’t attend the LSU softball camp at my future college.”

Many other seniors had missed opportunities as well. Katy Hessert mentioned she missed out on a JROTC camp during the summer 2020, and also leading a 300 cadet camp, which would have been amazing for leadership skills. She also wasn’t able to meet the proper amount of service hours, and ¨had extreme difficulty trying to get an ACT testing date, which I also believe hurt immensely…”

According to CNBC News, even Ivy League schools have suffered the effects of the pandemic. Harvard University Early Action acceptance rate for fall 2021 was 7.4%, down from 13.9% in previous years.

The pandemic affected some colleges in different ways. Clemson University saw a record number of applicants for fall 2021 enrollment, with an estimated 44,000 applications. In 2018, the number of applicants was 28,844. That is almost double the amount in just three years.

James Island senior Rebecca Young, said it wasn’t surprising that these records were broken, “because people were thinking, ‘I can get in anywhere.’”

Katy Hessert also agreed with Rebecca that, “a lot of schools are test optional and kids with extreme GPAs may not have had the test scores they needed to get in…”

Coronavirus has interfered with so many aspects of our lives, including school, future plans and college. The silver lining of the pandemic for current high school seniors is the alleviation of test scores, extracurricular activities, and more that are normally required upon application.