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Students navigate college admissions during COVID-19

<p>The college application process has been challenging for students. File photo by Detroit School of the Arts.</p>

The college application process has been challenging for students. File photo by Detroit School of the Arts.

Cass Tech seniors have found themselves overwhelmed with college applications during the coronavirus pandemic and have asked the school staff for more support. 

Three seniors -- Wisdom Andino, Andre Price and Melody Cooper -- were interviewed to see how they were doing in their college application process.

Overwhelming is the word most seniors used to describe their college application process, and many of these struggles stem from changes due to the pandemic. For some, it was difficult to get letters of recommendation since they never built a connection with her teachers during virtual school. For others, getting in touch with their counselor when the pandemic began and over the summer proved almost impossible. Another struggle was writing college essays and writer’s block. 

Senior Andre Price said he felt a lack of support. 

“I’ve had to figure it out myself along the way," Price said.

Due to the COVID-19, many colleges and universities have limited in-person college tours. Andino has attended in-person and virtual college tours. She went on an in-person college tour of the University of Toledo, as a part of a small socially distanced group. She also said she tries to make the most of virtual college tours.

“It’s just not the same," Wisdom said.

Cooper said that although the virtual tours were informative, she really needed to do her own research online.

When asked if there was anything Cass Tech could do to make students feel more supported and prepared, they said they wanted to have classes or workshops dedicated to college applications and other senior topics. Wisdom suggested a more individual approach. 

“It would be nice to have one-on-one mentors," Wisdom said.

Another thing that students agree has helped them through the college application is Cass Tech’s new schedule, where students have more time to work on personal work during asynchronous learning time.

“I was able to get through so many college applications because of the shortened schedule," Price said.

Wendy McCalep-Edwards, a counselor at Cass Tech, said she encourages students to stay updated with their college’s admission requirements, which may have changed due to COVID-19, and to connect with their counselors through virtual meetings on Microsoft Teams. 

She also advises students to meet with college admissions advisers to get to know a college even when students can’t go and see the college in person, and she said students should take advantage of any essay writing workshops colleges may have. 

Although students might not feel as connected to their teachers over virtual learning, counselors are available to meet and chat during asynchronous learning hours. Students can find the support they need by reaching out to teachers, counselors and admissions advisors, even if it’s through a virtual meeting.


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