By: Josh Chait
It is completely safe to say that my expectations about applying to college were shattered by the pandemic. I never expected, when I first began my Junior year of high school, that I would be unable to visit any college campuses. I never expected that the closest I would get to meeting a college representative would be a Zoom interview. I never expected that majority of my college research would be in the form of virtual Q&A events. Nonetheless, with the first of my applications submitted, I cannot help but feel that, in many ways, the benefits of a virtual college application process outweigh the cons.
While I lost an array of college-research opportunities from the pandemic, I also gained a whole host of different ones. Chiefly, I was able to talk to college representatives that I could never have met under normal circumstances. In one instance, a college I was interested in hosted a virtual event at HSN, something that normally would have been a quick hello during lunch; I joined it, and wound up being the only student there. As a result, I was able to talk with the representative for nearly half an hour, gaining knowledge, answers to lingering questions, and a sense of familiarity with one of the admissions officers I never could have gotten had it not been via Zoom.
Regardless, there are obvious downsides to a pandemic-restricted college search. For one, if not for the virus, I would never have had a college interview in which I waited twenty minutes for the interviewer to come online, only to find out the next day that she could not join the call due to technical difficulties. I also would never have had to watch countless hours of virtual tours and Q&A’s, such that they all blend together into one disjointed memory, its parts near-impossible to separate.