The Class of 2021 Navigates a Different College Application Process

Seniors complete their first milestone: the college application process.

Omyrah Alizai, Staff Writer

Seniors all across the globe are completing their applications for colleges and universities as the application season comes to an end. It both a nerve wracking time and a time of relief for seniors as they faced the application process in addition of adapting to an online environment. Interviews, meetings with counselors, application weeks, college visits, scholarships, and more are now completely virtual as a result of the global pandemic. 

Navigating the unfamiliar process of applications has been a struggle for many seniors. Lewis High School seniors Hannah Elshafie and Melissa Gomez-Villalta – both applying as first generation students – have found the process to be frustrating with no easy answers. Voicing many of the same struggles as their classmates, these future graduates feel that helpful resources to aid their application process were challenging to come across. 

“There were a lot of online resources that were hard to find. I would have been able to ask in-person resources at school if we were in school, but it got better as time went on,” Elshafie said. 

Gomez-Villalta shared a similar frustration. “[There was] no direct information or directions to be found on our own,” Gomez-Villalta said.

These seniors have been working on their college applications since August 2020. With time, the young women were able to get a hold of the process, familiarize themselves with it, and successfully complete their applications. 

While the newly virtual process was a hurdle on its own, it was not the only obstacle the class of 2021 encountered; college admissions testing was another. With the first cancellation of SAT test dates beginning in March 2020, seniors feared there would not be enough time to mail satisfactory scores by the end of application season.

Senior Allim Dominguez voiced the relief she felt after universities’ announcement, in June 2020, that SAT test scores were no longer mandatory. 

“I think [the announcement] had an effect on people because it discouraged them from having them worry and stress about studying and getting to the test just to have it cancelled and then go again another time,” Dominguez said.

While a handful of students have been able to test, it is safe to say that the non-mandatory testing announcement put to ease some of the worries seniors had. 

As life has moved online during the pandemic, it has been a challenge for seniors to balance home, school, and work life. Elshafie, who is undecidedly a future Biology major,  struggled to strike a balance among school responsibilities and applications.

“School had come in the way in the beginning, I was prioritizing assignments until I realized I needed to set aside time for my applications,” Elshafie said. 

Gomez-Villalta, who is undecidedly a future Business major, agreed that most of her time was spent “prioritizing school work over college applications” as a result of constant assignments that were being sent out by teachers.

Now into the second semester of school, students have begun to find balance. With newly or almost completed applications, improved time management skills, and bright futures, many seniors can agree they have slowly come to have more time for the important things–whether those are completing college applications, prioritizing school, or spending time with family.

The class of 2021 is almost there! The seniors have persevered through almost a full year of online school and its obstacles, and they have taken the first steps to achieve their future goals.