Choosing a College During COVID-19
April 23, 2020
You have prepared for this time in your life for four years — some of you maybe longer. You pulled all nighters studying for finals or AP exams, you met in groups (which is currently frowned upon) to complete your group project. You barely slept the Friday night before your early Saturday morning SAT or ACT exam due to nervousness about the test. You showed up for the test, followed the proctor's directions exactly so as to not have the scores "cancelled" for you or the entire room. You actually did pretty well on the test, good enough to get some offers from colleges you can actually see yourself attending! But how do you decide which one to attend, especially in a time when so many of us are ordered to remain at home and so many college campuses are not holding on-campus operations?
Perhaps one of your loved ones has been affected by this ugly virus — perhaps you are caring for them at this moment. When you are ready, I have some advice.
Use this time at home to continue your investigation on the "best fit" institution for you.
I come to you not only as the director of undergraduate admissions but also as the mother of a current high school senior who is experiencing exactly what you are right now. I will tell you what I told him.
First of all, do not let this current situation over-shine or take away from all of the hard work you put into getting here. Do not let this current situation define your future. Yes, it is easy to feel like a victim and you are a victim — a victim of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic — a victim who has been ordered to stay home when all you want to do is hang with your friends. However, we are strong and we are resilient, so you must pick yourself up and stay focused. Use this time at home to continue your investigation on the "best fit" institution for you. Many/most colleges and universities are offering virtual tours and virtual information sessions — take advantage of being able to tour a campus from your sofa. Universities are also offering daily online chats if you still have questions. We may not be operating from campus, but we are still operating. Reach out to your admissions counselor with any questions. I can tell you that most admissions counselors, like myself, enjoy talking with students more than any other aspect of their job. Let us help you with making your decision.
You will come to your decision as to where you will begin classes in the fall and when you do, begin to connect with your future classmates via the social media channels that are available. I am happy to report that my senior has decided to attend Drexel and will be a future Dragon! He is now spending his evenings on X-Box talking to two other future Dragons he met in the New Dragons Facebook group and they are planning their future college careers.
Class of 2020, you are all already connected in such a way that no other class preceding you has been. You are the class that lived through the COVID-19 pandemic and made your college choice under unprecedented circumstances. You are strong, you are you resilient. The question is...are you a future Dragon?
Melissa Pennestri is the Director of Undergraduate Admissions at Drexel. She spends her free time with her husband and two sons (when they make time for her).