Editorial: Students need to stop stressing about college in the midst of COVID-19

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Natalie Doud

Many students are feeling an increase in stress with the obstacles presented by COVID-19.

The modern school system that we take part in has put a significant emphasis on working towards one specific goal throughout our high school career: college. 

As students, we are told to work hard, study every day, and involve ourselves in extracurricular activities as much as possible to achieve this goal, which will seemingly allow us to have a successful and high-achieving future.

So, as can be imagined, a lot of stress stems from many students’ extensive efforts to get into college and to prevail with certainty. During a time of unprecedented changes and uncertainty, both in our everyday lives and in the college application process, academic anxiety of students is heightened; COVID-19 is not helping to ease that feeling of pressure.

In general, the college application process is typically very stressful for students. So, when COVID-19 emerged and led to the cancellation of academic and extracurricular opportunities, juniors planning to apply to college in the fall are beginning to worry even more about their chances of being admitted, as time seems to slip away. 

The SAT is delayed, AP tests have changed, and the ACT will most likely be canceled until it’s safe for students to gather. Additionally, spring sports have been canceled, volunteer opportunities have been postponed, and spring semester grades have turned to credit/no credit. Thus, GPAs cannot be boosted by classes taken in the spring semester. These are all critical factors needed to formulate a proper college application. 

However, students, especially juniors planning to apply to four-year colleges in the fall, should not be so concerned, as colleges are well aware of the scarce opportunities presently available for students. Additionally, several top colleges have gone test-optional for those applying in the fall, so the SAT and ACT will not be required by these schools.

Furthermore, acceptance rates for colleges will likely be higher than ever for the high school class of 2021. There are many contributing factors, as schools are becoming more accommodating and understanding that our resources are limited during this time, hence the move to become test-optional for a year.

All visa services, including student visas, were suspended by the U.S. Department of State in March 2020, which presents a challenge for international students looking to attend schools in the U.S., according to Forbes. In addition, Forbes explained that many international students make up a percentage of student bodies at some of the top colleges in the U.S.

This unveils the idea that with less international acceptances comes an increase in domestic acceptances, hence why now is not the time for students to be excessively and unnecessarily stressing about college so early on. 

The top priority at the moment should be our mental and physical health rather than our academic limitations and futures, which is one of the many reasons why the district decided to implement a credit/no-credit grading system. This system allows students to focus more on their health and family rather than on the status of their grades.

COVID-19 is anxiety-inducing as it is, and by intensifying your focus on school and college applications, you’re only supplementing existing stress. So, as long as you complete your assigned work and focus on your mental health, your proclivity to work hard will not go unnoticed by colleges.

All in all, there is a clear silver-lining in our situation, and we need to appreciate these advantages.

*This editorial reflects the views of the Scot Scoop editorial board and was written by Natalie Doud.

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