Amid the global pandemic, seniors are still hard at work writing and sending out their college applications. Due to these unusual circumstances, over the summer, colleges have decided to start virtual tours and Zoom information sessions in place of campus visits and college fairs that are not available anymore. Most colleges have even removed the standardized testing requirement. At Taipei American School, the college counseling office has been working hard to aid the seniors with this unprecedented change.
“I think it’s also a lot more interactive, because it’s an online platform and there’s just different ways for you to ask questions … and I think colleges are also very active online right now so if you have any questions, you can go ahead and contact them.” Kristina Y. (‘21) said. Sofia L. (‘21) said ”I think it’s definitely much more convenient, you know, rather than having to travel all the way to the school. You know, finding a place to stay,” Although not required, the Director of College Counseling Ms. Melaine Hamre and College Counselor Ms. Shanice Kok both strongly recommend student participation in virtual tours and Zoom information sessions as colleges track students’ demonstrated interest. The college counseling office has since tried to aid seniors by giving time back to them, such as cancelling some college counseling meetings, and trying to decrease the amount of stress they feel while also keeping to their main goals and ideology.
Mrs. Hamre said, “A student will not be penalized if they choose not to submit [standardized] tests, test-optional really means test-optional.”
“Our grade is also like the lab rats of this whole new system, so it’s definitely been really challenging and really frustrating because we really can’t really consult anyone during this process.” Kristina said.
As a senior applying to college currently, Kristina encourages underclassmen to start brainstorming topics and how they want to tell their story to colleges instead of waiting for senior year. However, Mrs. Hamre recommends to the juniors to focus on being an active and good member of the community, not to stress about college and that the college you go to should not define who you are. Ultimately, during this process of uncertainty, seniors should trust their college counselors and not be hesitant to go to them if they have any concerns or questions about college.