Seniors choose their futures without in-person visits

Seniors are forced to make college decisions via virtual tools and digital resources


BELLA KHOR/ file photo

GBHS graduate Manvi Bhapkar holds up two college banners and deliberates about the different college she was considering for her freshman year of college.

In wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the senior class of 2020 has had to sacrifice countless ‘lasts’ of high school, but this global crisis could also be affecting their future.

For many seniors planning on going to a university next fall, the college decision process has been made exponentially harder due to coronavirus and quarantining.

All admitted student days and on-campus visits have been cancelled until further notice, changing plans for many seniors to visit colleges one last time before making their final decision.

Some have been waiting to visit schools until this spring break, like senior Hannah Delvalle, who hasn’t had the opportunity to tour the colleges she’s considering.

“My mom and I had planned on waiting for decisions to come out before touring schools that were farther away because it made sense financially. We had planned on spring break to be that time but now that won’t be able to happen and it’s frustrating,” Delvalle said.

Many seniors, committed to a college or not, were also planning on attending one or multiple Admitted Student Days this spring.

These day-long events give students the opportunity to meet new people before starting school in the fall. They can also help in the decision process by giving students a time to ask questions, a feel for the school’s atmosphere, and the ability to explore all a college has to offer.

“I was planning on attending the admit days of the top 3 colleges I am considering. Attending these would have helped me better understand the culture of the school and the type of people that attend,” senior Ellie Scholes said. “They would’ve given me the opportunity to truly envision myself as a student on each campus.”

Unfortunately, these events, along with many others, are cancelled, leaving seniors looking for other resources to help in making the big decision.

“I’m taking the time to look at any sort of virtual tours that the schools have on their websites and also watching videos of people sharing their experiences while at that school,” Delvalle said. “I’m also reaching out to others who are attending schools I’ve been accepted to and asking questions to get their personal insight of what it’s like and any pros or cons that they’ve found while there.”

I’m also reaching out to others who are attending schools I’ve been accepted to and asking questions to get their personal insight of what it’s like and any pros or cons that they’ve found while there.

— Hannah Delvalle

Scholes has also turned to virtual resources and videos to substitute for her three cancelled admit days.

“I am watching YouTube videos to help make my decision. I have watched many ‘day in my life in college’ videos for a better understanding of what students at certain campuses do on a daily basis,” Scholes said.

Although many schools have offered virtual resources, some believe they don’t help nearly as much as an in-person visit.

“Doing a virtual tour of Fordham University honestly doesn’t tell me enough. I feel like you really have to be on a campus and watch students interact and feel that atmosphere in person,” said Liv Thomspon, a senior whose trip to the east coast to visit colleges such as Fordham University was cancelled.

An important aspect of admitted student days and events is also interacting and meeting other students.

“While I am thankful my colleges have supplied (virtual admit days) as a resource, a virtual visit does not give me the opportunity to meet other admitted students. Meeting other students would make me feel more confident in my decision because I would know if I fit in with the student body,” Scholes said.

With all these changes amidst a global pandemic, many seniors believe the National Decision Day should be moved back.

Annually, May 1st is the day nearly all colleges require graduating seniors to commit, although schools such as Texas Christian University and Oregon State University have already moved back their deadlines to June 1st.

“I really believe the date should be pushed back. It’s likely the majority of our class will just go with whatever school they’re most comfortable with as opposed to a school they’re willing to take a chance with, and that sucks,” Thompson said.

With everything up in the air and many questions unanswered, it’s an especially stressful time for seniors still having to make that college decision.

“I’m scared of making the wrong decision. I constantly worry about choosing a school, going there, and realizing it’s not a place that I feel could be my home,” Delvalle said.

“I’m just scared that this pandemic won’t just affect this year of my life, but the next four, as I could end up in the completely wrong place for myself without being given the opportunity to see others,” Thompson said.