COVID, college applications and journalism

By Maya Niyogi
IHSPA Student Board Member
West Lafayette Jr-Sr High School

Everyone was aware of the direct effects of COVID-19 – social distancing, masks, quarantining – but no one was ever prepared for the more indirect ones. The one that has been affecting students the most, however, is college applications.

In a normal year, students would start to finalize their list of colleges to apply to during the summer before their senior year, which would be done through info sessions, alumni interviews and campus visits. By interacting with students and teachers on these campuses, rising seniors would be granted the opportunity to learn about where they could potentially be spending the next four years of their lives. It gave them true conviction when writing their application essays, and these situations helped motivate students to complete their high school years and move on to the next chapter.

With COVID-19 came social distancing, preventative measures and travel restrictions. Colleges closed their campuses to visitors, and all of the sessions for seniors were translated to something online – whether that be a virtual campus tour with CGI or an admissions officer advertising the college for 30 minutes. Now, high school seniors have had to turn somewhere else to gain the knowledge they would’ve gotten normally.


News articles about different schools have allowed students to know what a college is like behind the glamor and also have allowed them to know how different faculty and teachers think. Blog posts by current students give insight to prospective freshmen as to what a day in the life of a student at that school is like, and features on official school websites help give general information. By reading these different resources, seniors are able to supplement the lack of a normal college application process they would have had without COVID-19.

Written resources have become the most-important tool for students applying to schools and will forever change the application process.

While it’s not a perfect solution, journalism has tried to normalize the college application process for our current high school seniors. It provides knowledge and helps a student understand where they’re signing up to spend the next few years of their life.

It’s the best we can get in these times.

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