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How to Crush College Applications

ELHS seniors manage application process during COVID-19 era

Ruby McMahon

About 20 million U.S. students enroll in college each year, and given the circumstances of 2020, there was much uncertainty on what college was going to look like next fall. Despite the risk of getting sick or having to do remote schooling, ELHS seniors are as ready as ever to explore the world of university.

“I feel that I actually benefited in regards to my college application because of COVID. Due to the pandemic, most schools have become test-optional. I decided to not submit my SAT to any of my schools. I think this will benefit my applications because I believe the other components of my application are stronger,” said senior Zahra Hassan. With the help from family, friends, and her counselor, Ms. Kosswig, Hassan has found herself more prepared.

Senior Anjali Rana, who applied early as well, said there were lots of difficulties that came her way when applying. “The biggest challenge throughout the process was balancing it with homework. It was hard making myself spend time on my application if I had homework due the next day,” said Rana.

Senior Tucker Mazzulli says that the process was difficult, but he is excited for a new chapter of his life. “I took challenging courses this year to hopefully better prepare myself for what I’m going to be doing next year. My biggest goals for next year are to live college to the fullest when it comes to my academics, athletics, and social life,” said Mazzulli. Cindi Meek, an administrative assistant who answers students’ questions about transcripts in the College and Career Center, recommends students prepare for college early.

“My biggest recommendation for underclassmen is to be prepared. Do your research and plan ahead. Keep your resume up to date. This may include community service activities, honors and awards, work information, and other accomplishments. Have fun and enjoy your time in high school, but don’t slack off,” said Ms. Meek. Ms. Meek also suggests to not waste time because of the pandemic, but to prepare as if it were a normal year of college admissions. “I believe the college application process is about the same as prior years except for the fact that most colleges are not doing on site visits. Colleges view you as a person and not just a grade or a test score. Do your best but be well-rounded,” said Ms. Meek.

Colleges are looking for uniqueness, according to Ms. Meek. The secret to applications is to reveal personality, skill sets, and display what makes you stand out. “For underclassmen, my biggest advice is to start early and explore a lot. I think most people tend to only do what their friends do, but during the college process it is crucial to make your own path,” said Hassan.

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