What is it Like Applying to Colleges During the Pandemic?


Julia Montenegro, Journalist


  1. What has been your biggest challenge applying to colleges? 

   “Probably the lack of support from teachers because they’ve been stressed on their end because a bunch of other students have been emailing them for help so it’s hard to get the information you need from teachers. Also you’re not physically in school so you can’t ask your teachers after school or your friends at lunch if you need help. Also it’s more challenging because everything is online, there’s no paperwork you have to do, so that makes it hard because then you have a million tabs open and you can get lost and distracted easily, also we have school, and school is super hard and exhausting. Siblings and family can be distracting too. Especially seniors have work and jobs and other family responsibilities so balancing time is also hard especially during these times since you have nothing to do, all you can do is schoolwork, go to work, then more work. So you have no outlet, or freetime.” 

  1. What is the process of applying to colleges? 

   “For me the process was different for each application. For UC’s you don’t have to write an essay so that’s easy. All you do is send in your transcripts and you answer questions about what you want to do. It mainly depends on what type of colleges you’re applying to. For my personal insights the prompts were released over the summer so I’ve been reading through them deciding which ones I choose. Then after getting it on paper and editing it and revising it over and over until I feel like it’s good enough to send. Similar for private colleges you write an essay. It’s really just a matter of getting something on paper and editing it and people looking over it. It’s a very tedious process with very little steps.”


  1. What do you think it will be like if it will still be online?

   “I think it will be hard to adjust because you’re a freshman going into a university and that’s really scary especially since it’s new people, new teachers, and you can’t even meet them since you’re online so you can’t make new friends. And the new environment is challenging and the fact that you’re online in the first place is challenging. I don’t imagine it will be any easier in college online because you can’t really retain the information.”


  1. Have you been able to tour any colleges? If so which ones, and how was it? 

   “Yes, over Thanksgiving break my family and I toured two colleges, we toured UCSB and Cal State Long Beach. I liked both schools. They were both very nice. I enjoyed viewing the campus because it made me get a real feel of what the school was like because all I get to see is pictures. I think that going to the actual school is good to get a feel of what it would be like going there. I also went to Cal State East Bay which is in Hayward and I really liked it. I thought it was actually really nice and I never even thought of going there. I’ve driven by San Francisco State and University of San Francisco because we’ve been there a lot. I’ve seen CSM a few times. Yea, I really like going to the colleges because it gives me a feel of what it would be like going there, but since we are in a pandemic you don’t get to see the student life, so it’s a little hard to envision what it would be like during school.”  


  1. What are some of your top colleges? 

   “My top college is Occidental College. I like it because I go to Hillsdale High School and we have houses there and I really like that since you get close to teachers and other classmates. And I like that the classes aren’t super big. The class size is about 18 people and I really like that since I want to get to know my teachers. I also like Cal State Long Beach, it’s very affordable and the campus reminds me of San Mateo High School so it feels like home. I also applied to University of California, Santa Barbra, it’s a really pretty school and it’s right on the beach which is really nice. I also like San Jose State, I like it because it’s really close so it won’t be a very far move and I can still visit my family every so often. I also really like the University of San Francisco because they have medical programs and I might want to go into dermatology in my future and it’s close so it will be easy to commute and it will save a lot of money.”