13 Apr Jon Cartu Declares: Virus doesn’t care as students try to prepare for college
Before the coronavirus slammed the gates on campus visits by prospective students, Serra Sowers had plans to visit seven colleges this spring to help make up her mind.
Like so many milestone moments of her senior year, the pandemic has pushed the process online. Serra, a 17-year-old Florida resident, has had to rely on virtual tours, learning about schools in Zoom chats with college officials.
Strange as those experiences have been, her mother, Ebru Ural, worries how the pandemic might affect her daughter’s college experience itself in a few short months.
“We’re dealing with the unknown, and we’re trying to make such a huge decision. She invested the better part of the last year trying to earn acceptance to these institutions,” Ural said, but “we really don’t know what we’re buying right now.”
The outbreak has upended plans for millions of students, who are taking virtual tours of schools while also dealing with concerns about tuition payments in an economic downturn — and whether campuses will even reopen by the fall.
In efforts to keep enrollment numbers up, colleges are courting students with interactive one-on-one video sessions, and hundreds have given families more time to decide by pushing deposit deadlines from May 1 to June 1. With SAT and ACT exams canceled, ever more schools also are waiving admissions test requirements for next year’s incoming class.