Choosing a College during Covid



In a time where in-person visits are not possible at many colleges, see why virtual visits has its own advantages.

TOWAMENCIN – A major component that goes into committing to a college is going on a campus tour and having the opportunity to experience the atmosphere of college life. Unfortunately, for prospective students in 2020, it is no longer possible.

As if the college admissions process isn’t difficult enough, these tours have become less available for junior and senior students during the course of the pandemic. Although COVID-19 has affected an enormous amount of our everyday living, it has also forced society to adapt quickly to change. If there has been one thing we have consistently seen during the last few months, it has been the advancement and improvement of technology.

These improvements have enhanced the virtual lifestyle in which the world has been subjected to live in. Specifically for high school students, quality virtual tours of colleges have become available at the click of a button.

In an interview with the Washington Post, Rick Clark, director of the undergraduate admission at Georgia Tech, trusts that virtual resources for students are improving by the day.

“One of the real positives that are going to come out of this is the way schools are ramping up the online engagement of students,” said Clark.

Clark believes that the faculty and staff at college campuses have become more available for interested students and he hopes that these new alternatives will continue on even after the pandemic settles down.

College and Career Counselor at North Penn High School, Patrick Brett, agrees that virtual offerings have had major upgrades since the pandemic first broke out.

“Many colleges, if not all, are only holding virtual college representative visits where a Zoom meeting is set up, per high school. As of the end of the day on 10/19, North Penn has hosted 130 virtual college visits with a college representative that students can join,” Brett said. “Also, many colleges are hosting virtual tours, virtual open houses, and virtual one-on-one zoom calls for students who may have missed our school’s meeting.”

Although Brett acknowledges that things such as being able to experience the feel, size, and most importantly, the food options on-campus are negatives that come with touring virtually, he also recognizes the positives.

“There are now multiple offerings that are easily accessible and students can possibly set them up around their own schedule,” Brett said.

He also admitted that although the effects of the pandemic have not been ideal for students planning to go to college, they may go to actually improve the admissions process for the future.

“I think the college admissions process as a whole has needed a bit of a redo and this pandemic has helped with that. I am not a proponent of Standardized Test Scores (SATs, ACTs) being a major factor in the admissions process,” Brett said. “Students could have an off day, students might not be good test-takers, and most importantly, the SATs/ACTs pose major biases against some groups in our Country, State, County, and District. I am happy that the majority of schools went test-optional this year and I hope that many continue with that in future years.”

Along with touring virtually, North Penn students have also been given access to additional resources that can further aid them in the college decision making process.

“At this current time, for seniors, the senior counselors and I are offering Live Q&A Sessions on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays between 11:15 and 12 pm. I am also offering Office Hours every day after school between 2:35-3 pm, also for seniors,” Brett said. “For 10th & 11th graders, they were sent an email on 10/2 with links about Naviance and what it can offer. It offers career research, college research, scholarship opportunities, and much more. Students can always reach out to me with questions.”