Art by Kate Corcoran
College seems to be the only topic of conversation of late, for those juniors getting a jump start on tours and all of the seniors making plans for the next year. The month of April begins signaling the deadline for college commitments; if that is the chosen path for a student. However this year was a normal season of applications for some and definitely was not for others. Those who applied to the UCs and other state schools found it more difficult than previous years to be considered or even accepted to a waitlist. With the influence of Covid as well as the effect from the decision to omit what used to be required SAT and ACT scores, the admission decisions for many UCs and other state schools left students crushed and parents peeved.
For years, the recognition of the UCs included the incredible education offered along with the amazing staff and of course some prestige, as the acceptance to these schools was not incredibly common. Despite students expecting a challenge in the process of admissions, this year students were a bit taken aback at just how big of a challenge it would be to gain admission to one of these accomplished universities. One of the biggest changes that was included in this application process was the shift to optional inclusion of SAT and ACT scores. This shift was unpopular in the idea that despite the bar on accepting test scores, the students chosen to be admitted would be related to their decision to submit scores, however despite this popular opinion, it remains false. Within the change in UC policy of blinding the test scores in the admissions process, and the apparent influx of scores used during applications these submissions had no true effect on the admissions, but rather just proved the competitive nature found in the students applying.
Another arguably more influential factor in the new difficulty with admissions to schools everywhere was one that came with the end of COVID-19. When Covid hit, one of the biggest groups of people directly affected were college students and seniors in high school preparing to head off to college. These students expected a traditional college experience were instead shocked and thrown into totally new situations: g online classes and a variety of unique schedules. This change to the college experience influenced a lot of students who decided to defer a year in hopes to have a more normal year later. While online classes worked relatively well despite the difficulties with instructing hundreds of teenagers virtually, many students had a hard time with the pattern that developed with the new school schedules. Moving into the end of COVID-19, the number of students who decided to enroll in college overall decreased, yet another problem proved to be more difficult to predict. Hundreds of students who chose to differ a year decided to return for in person classes overflowing with the amount of applicants accepted and class scheduling. This alteration to the application and admissions process is arguably the bigger issue surrounding the admissions to UCs and state schools.
Despite all of these difficulties surrounding admissions as well as other issues and controversy including the housing crisis throughout schools, many of our talented and exceptional students got into many of these schools. With a few headed to UCSD, many to Berkley, as well as UCSC, the senior class this year seemed to dazzle admissions officers everywhere with extracurriculars, coursework, and personal essays despite the recent changes in test score policy.