Seniors Tackle Choosing a College in a Pandemic


Victoria Simmons; Photo courtesy of Julia Groen

Julia Groen, Managing Editor

Although the pandemic is coming to a close, with almost a third of the American population fully vaccinated against the virus as of April 5th, the usual process of choosing a college for seniors was still disrupted. Prospective students had to get creative as the usual campus visits and admitted student days were limited or moved online altogether. Three students share their processes:


Jennifer Taylor had “pretty low expectations because [she] didn’t want to put a whole lot of pressure on [herself]”, although she planned to apply to around 20 schools. As she began writing the applications, that number shrunk, realizing that “there was only so much time and resources” she could put into applications without sacrificing other aspects of her life. When the acceptances began coming in, Taylor used pros-and-cons lists, virtual and in-person tours, and student accounts of the school dynamic, looking for “money, location, acceptances, and opportunity.” Once her list narrowed down based on those factors, she considered more personal factors, such as the surrounding community and additional opportunities extended to her. She ultimately decided to attend Johns Hopkins University this fall. 


Victoria Simmons went into the process with “no expectations for where I would end up.” After the application process was over and acceptances began to trickle in, she did additional research on those schools that accepted her, including the opportunities and scholarships they offered her. While she accumulated this information, “I made an excel sheet and weighted every criteria I had for a perfect school and calculated a cumulative score for each school I got into.” Eventually, she made a decision, based on the study abroad opportunity she was offered, the co-ops offered, and the ability for her to get her master’s and bachelor’s degrees in 5 years. She will be attending Northeastern University in the fall.


Gabriela Holzer began with the hope that she’d “end up at the school that was the best fit for [her].” She applied restrictive early action (REA) to her school, which prevented her from applying early action to any other private school, but did not require her to attend if she was accepted. Before her decision returned, she continued to research her school, Holzer recalls “the picture of where I wanted to be getting clearer, but with that came my own self-inflicted pressure to reach my goal.” She was accepted, and after making a summary sheet of the school and the pros and cons of committing early rather than waiting, she decided that committing “was the best course of action for me.” Holzer will be attending her REA school in the fall. 


Despite the many challenges that the pandemic posed for students throughout the past year, the class of 2025 made the most of it. Congratulations, no matter what path you’re taking!