COVID-19 pandemic impacts college decisions

With admitted students' events canceled, seniors are left to decide on their college based on pictures and virtual events // Photo by Micayla Roth / Online Executive Editor.

The coronavirus is affecting all students in different ways, but it is having a major impact on what is arguably one of the biggest decisions a high schooler will have to make. Of course, there have been preparations for college decisions prior to the spring, but lots of students expected to go to accepted students’ events and make their decision based on them. Now, students are expected to make their decision based on virtual tours and Zoom calls. 

Colleges are beginning to offer online Zoom meetings to help students get to know more about the school. Some of these information sessions include more about a specific major, financial aid, study abroad opportunities, or campus life. Although these can be very informative, a lot of students have said they expected to get a “feeling” from a college when visiting, which does not happen in the same way when experiencing a college through a computer screen. 

“Throughout high school, I pictured choosing a college would be difficult. However, I never imagined this process to be this tough. Based on my experience, I can say the pandemic made choosing a college a whole lot harder. In my opinion, it made it seem like a school closer to home would be a better choice in case something like this happens again. I immediately crossed all the far schools off the list out of fear,” Ariana Frattaroli (’20) said.

According to, around 350 colleges have also decided to extend their deposit deadline to June 1 or later to make sure students have more than enough time to make this huge decision. However, some colleges decided not to opt for this, which does not help if other schools chose not to.

“For me, it was harder to make a decision because I was counting on visiting the campuses to see which college was right for me; but now because of [coronavirus] I have to do it all online and it is harder to picture yourself living and studying somewhere for possibly four plus years without ever seeing the campus in person,” Lisa Jagodzinksi (’20) said.

Colleges are also in fear that they will not have their spots filled because many international students will be unable to attend. There has been word circulating that some colleges are beginning to take more students off the waitlist in hope that they will fill all the spots in the class, according to finance magazine Money. Some colleges are saying that they are not sure if there will even be class on campus for the upcoming fall semester because of how bad the virus may get. 

This adds more of a problem for colleges because a lot of kids will not want to pay the same tuition to take the classes online. There has been nothing set in stone yet, but Boston University, among others, has stated that the fall semester could go online should it still be unsafe to have students living on campus, according to CNN.

The college decision process is hard enough, but became even harder once seniors could not even tour their schools to get the feeling of what it may be like on each campus.