2020 college process summary

A screenshot from a virtual tour of the University of Miami.

Photo by YouVisit

A screenshot from a virtual tour of the University of Miami.

Mimi Osborne, Managing Editor of A&E

COVID-19 has impacted nearly every aspect of 2020, and college is no exception. The college application process has been an intense challenge, requiring more effort and perseverance than previous years. However, the students and faculty at Lake Forest Academy were more than adequately prepared for these struggles.

Andrew Poska, Dean of College Counseling, reflected on the process as one with tremendous changes, all of which present obstacles for students. He says that the most significant physical change is, “the fact that students have largely been unable to visit colleges and universities last spring, or this summer and fall.” The absence of in-person visitation has influenced where many students decided to apply . However, for students such as Yvie Gerber ‘21 and Arthur Pan ‘21, they feel that where they decided to apply was not based on in-person visitation, but rather the core values of the school itself. Gerber said, “Although I have only been able to visit schools a day trip away, I don’t feel my decision would change completely if I were to visit, say, the international schools I have been looking at.”

Another major change in the application process was the ability to apply “test-optional.” Poska said that students who have, “outstanding credentials but low testing will benefit from the test optional policy.”All around,going test-optional is beneficial to most students; for students with strong test scores, it allows them to show their strength in academic testing, whereas for students who are not as strong with standardized tests, it presents the opportunity to showcase their extracurricular strengths instead. One LFA student decided to apply test optional as they feel that standardized testing does not accurately reflect who they are as a student, but rather only stresses a certain type of learning. Arthur Pan, on the contrary, decided to apply with his SAT score as he felt it accurately reflects his academic ability.

The largest change, however, as Poska mentioned, is the unknown. Poska said that not knowing about, “the loss of revenue for colleges, the financial impact on many families to pay for college, changes in recruiting strategies, new ED plans, etc.” is what will rise above as the greatest change in the process. As students embark on their pathways into college, it is important to remember that college is an opportunity to grow as an individual and further discover oneself. Above all, the college process has changed dramatically due to COVID-19, and it is comforting to know that though this can seem overwhelming and intimidating, this is a challenge impacting students all across the country, you are not alone.