By Tiffany Dien – Loveland, Colorado … The past year has made a significant impression on many high school seniors at a point in their lives where decisions are critical. They have had to adapt to the changing times of online education platforms, standardized testing, and college applications. The pandemic world has compelled many to reevaluate their plans for college and careers.

Campion senior Sharmaine Monreal’s plans for college before the pandemic are not so simple now. “I planned to go to college overseas, but COVID travel restrictions would have made it difficult. So, this opened up a door for me to start looking into American colleges.”

She went on to explain that “all my plans have completely changed, but I managed to find a way around them with my parents’ help. I tried to stay positive and prayed a lot. Now I’ll be able to start college in the U.S. this fall.”

Many seniors are having difficulty making their final decision on a college without getting to visit a variety of campuses.

Ryan Bell, Campion senior, was looking forward to visiting colleges in person as a way of getting a feel for the right school. “I’m still struggling with coming to the realization that traveling and visiting colleges just isn’t going to happen at this point. It’s disappointing not being able to have those experiences that I was expecting before COVID began.”

Some students were depending on acquiring a scholarship through activities such as sports and music, which have been on hold for the majority of the year. Dominick Maldonado, Campion senior shared, “I really wanted to get a soccer scholarship. As a team, we were proud of each other because we went undefeated last year. If we had had a strong soccer season again, there would have been potential for scouts and scholarships. Then COVID hit, and we never got the opportunity to see whether one of us would have gotten even just a small scholarship. I feel like it brought down the team’s morale and whole mindset.”

Despite these challenges, the majority of seniors at Campion are still planning to attend college next year. Colleges are helping students make those decisions by holding virtual events, such as tours and fairs, and sending recruiters to visit our campus. In addition, most universities have waived their requirements for SAT or ACT scores and are accepting students and basing scholarships on grade point averages.

“Even though we didn’t have college days for a big group of students, I was still able to visit Union during my spring break and get a tour of the campus. I’m looking forward to taking the next step in the direction of my career,” Jayce Treat, Campion senior said.

–Tiffany Dien is a senior at Campion; photo supplied