Has COVID-19 affected where Solon students are applying to college?


College Letters, 2020

Sophia Giallanza, News Editor

 Typically, fall at Solon High School is bustling with seniors who are busy visiting and applying to colleges and universities anywhere from here in Cleveland, Ohio to Oxford, England. However, this year looks a little different due to the COVID – 19 pandemic that halted international travel and drastically reduced interstate travel. After speaking with SHS seniors it is clear that 2020 college apps may look slightly different than past years.  

   Due to the pandemic, the majority of colleges and universities in the US have suspended in-person college tours for the time being. This means that students applying to college in 2020 will not have the opportunity to see most of their prospective schools. 

 “I felt like I couldn’t apply to more schools than the ones I already knew of or were comfortable with because I couldn’t do physical tours and interact,” said Micalea Cirino, who is a senior at Solon High School applying mainly to in-state schools.  

    Cirino was not alone in her decision. According to a survey of 156 SHS students, approximately 66 percent of seniors are applying mainly to in-state colleges. Many students rationalized this by saying the pandemic has caused uncertainties about flying, which would impact their ability to come home and see their families. This is in addition to concerns about their health going to another state with possibly a greater COVID-19 population. 

 “Before COVID-19, I was heavily considering going to a university in Canada and the UK,” said senior Samantha Jennings. “Since then, I have completely limited myself to schools in the US to avoid any complications due to the pandemic.” 

    Jennings’ situation is not unlike many other SHS students who expressed that they hoped to apply somewhere in flying distance like California. However, due to the pandemic they are now uneasy about the risk and availability of flights. 

   Despite this, about 58 percent of students at SHS selected that the COVID-19 pandemic has not affected where they are applying to college. 

  “COVID-19 has not really impacted where I will apply to college,” said another SHS senior, Yahya Qureshi. “In my opinion, it is the job of the university to protect its students and take preventative measures against COVID-19, such as online classes, social distancing, and hand sanitizing stations.”  

  In fact, a majority of SHS students also expressed little to no concern about their prospective schools as a result of the pandemic. They feel comfortable with their application decisions regardless of whether they are staying local or going far.  

   ¨It hasn’t impacted my decision whatsoever,¨ said Mohammed Al Hadhoud.¨I already had a clear vision where I wanted to go before COVID-19.¨

   Overall, it’s apparent that this year will be monumental for college and high school students. With the sudden suspension of the ACT and SAT in addition to the lack of in person tours, the college decision process is something that might change permanently in the years to come.