Applying to College During a Pandemic


Julia Groen

With the pandemic still raging throughout the world, another college application season has begun. Where last year’s seniors were able to visit campuses, complete applications, and attend college-related events, almost everything will occur online this year. 

In these times, students are forced to be creative with how they make important, life-changing decisions, such as ERHS senior Precious Sesay. Doing all her research online, Precious used university websites and YouTube videos from students at the schools. Compared to how a COVID-free college application & research process might’ve gone, Sesay found that “[she] got the same amount of information” given that she would’ve used the same resources in any case. 

Another senior, Olivia Bryan, took an alternate route. In addition to regular online research, she also visited campuses in person, particularly in New England. After figuring out which schools she wanted to visit, she drove down to them, all which had their own ways in handling the pandemic. Vermont, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island all required tests before they could access the states’ respective campuses as well as mandating masks at all times. Even if there were no school-sanctioned events and the schools weren’t operating at their full capacities, she still found that “actually going to the schools and visiting them gave [her] a better feel for the college than online tours and the website because people are actually there, even if it’s different than [sic] it might usually be.” 

More locally, schools such as the University of Maryland are taking similar measures. According to the school’s website, there will be no official group visits or Terp For a Day events until further notice, although self-guided tours and online information sessions are readily available. We reached out to UMD for extra comment on the university’s handling of COVID-19 and admissions but they were unavailable to comment. Towson University is offering open houses and information sessions with their admissions counselors, and St. Mary’s College has not only virtual events but scheduled in-person visits.

For those looking for more ways to research, some free online resource include: YouVisit, a free online tour website, the U.S. News rankings, Niche, Collegevine, and YouTube videos from current students at various institutions.