College search and decision process affected by virus



The Class of 2020 stands together on the first day of school in 2019 to take a class photo.

Ella Lukowiak

With the onslaught of the novel coronavirus throughout society, highschoolers have found that SAT and college tour cancellations have turned what should be a common high school experience into a future of unknown.

Anyone who had been hoping to take the SAT this spring had to deal with the rescheduling and eventual cancellation of their test.

Junior Erin Brady of Howell explained that she thinks schools will have to work around the coronavirus issue by adapting their plans so that students are able to still have the same opportunities that they would without the virus.

“They are going to have to come out with makeup dates either over the summer or push back the early decision deadlines so students can take it during the beginning of the school year or that they will make it test-optional,” Brady said.

However, in the opinion of Junior Nate Riehl of Wall Township, schools going test-optional may not put him in the best position.

“Compared to some other people, I don’t have a lot of extracurriculars so now there’s no SAT to differentiate between students, then I think that has a possibility of hurting me,” Riehl said. 

However, for many, the test wasn’t the only thing they were planning on doing to get ready for college.

Brady was supposed to go down south on college tours that also were cancelled due to the pandemic.

“We were actually supposed to go down to South Carolina and work our way down south with colleges, and obviously none of that happened,” Brady said.

While these tours aren’t being rescheduled yet, Brady did say that there are many virtual information sessions and tours that are being offered to prospective students.

Other than Riehl, Senior Liam Jamolod of Howell also feels as if he is being hurt during this whole process in a way unlike others. During his junior year, he said he had not visited any colleges due to advice from his parents. 

“We never went on college tours before because they said only go on the tours after [you get accepted] in case you see a college and you really want to go there and then you don’t get accepted because that would just feel bad,” Jamolod said. 

As of right now, Jamolod has not visited any colleges and said he is currently looking for the ones that are the most affordable and that can boost him to a potential transfer school.

“Wherever I go there is always the chance that I may apply to transfer somewhere else,” Jamolod said. “So I guess right now it’s just seeing which one I think I can get the most out of at least in the first year.” 

Another issue for seniors is the cancellation of accepted students days, where students are able to go to the colleges they have been accepted to and ask questions of the faculty, staff and students. Senior Jamie Nickerson of Tinton Falls explained that this was a problem for her, as some colleges kept the event ongoing through virtual platforms and others did not. 

As of April 7, Nickerson committed to Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts. However, when school was first closed, she was still unsure. For her, the guidance counselors have been a big help along the way.

“The guidance counselors are actually very good with when you email them; they’ll always answer you and they also have their classroom that they set up,” Nickerson said.

Her final decision came from the fact that she simply had more opportunities and facilities corresponding to her major with Emerson. 

“Once I got my answer from Penn State I just realized that as a theater major all of my opportunities will be in Boston and all of their theater facilities are just so much better than Penn State’s so I ended up choosing that one,” Nickerson said. 

While the situation is nothing close to ideal, both students and colleges are finding ways to work around the virus and still provide opportunities to retain some of that traditional college search experience. 

Junior Francesca McCaffrey of West Long Branch has been one to keep a positive mindset about the situation.

“I’m probably not going to be able to tour every campus I would like to be able to tour, but there are so many other things that I can use,” McCaffrey said. “It’ll hurt it a bit but it’s not going to be the end of the world.”