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Some Insight From the HSE Class of 2020 for the Class of 2021

By: Leah Sycoff

High school is coming to an end for the class of 2021, quite quickly, while covid craziness spirals around them. It is for this reason that I called upon the HSE class of 2020 to give our fellow seniors some advice for how to survive in college and, especially, a college with the Covid-19 pandemic. As seniors start to receive acceptances and even commit to their dream schools, it is crucial for them to realize the massive life-change that they are about to undergo. I will begin by explaining the Covid-19 precautions that most of the colleges used, then I will proceed by presenting advice that the class of 2020 believes is important for the transition from high school life to university life. 

In order to stay safe during the pandemic, many colleges are conducting mandatory covid testing for those living on (or right outside of) campus whether the school is online or in person. Some schools conduct sporadic testing, while others regulate testing several times a week. This testing is very serious and those who do not comply could face expulsion. So, if the pandemic continues to reach its claws into the 2021 – 2022 school year, the colleges know how to keep their students and faculty safe. Moreover, if you are afraid to go to campus, or your parents have concerns, know that the universities are doing everything in their power to keep their students safe. Most even encourage students to be at their school. Many of the students with whom I spoke are comfortable at their college and feel that their particular school did a very good job of handling the coronavirus situation. Just a few of these schools handling it well include Tulane University, Cornell University, and Binghamton University. 

Some of the students from these colleges emphasized the differences between the admissions process for them and for the class of 2021. They believe that although the current seniors are going through a very different and possibly more confusing process than they did, the class of 2021 may have a slightly less stressful situation. While others agreed, many acknowledged that one of the main factors that are at the forefront of this different process is the optional SAT/ACT score submission. Many students had tirelessly studied to take these exams but were never able to with the cancellations. In a positive light, tests are now available to take if the student still warrants them, but most schools no longer require them. Others from the class of 2020 brought up the fact that current high school seniors would not be able to visit colleges resulting in insufficiently grasping a school’s social and learning environment. They were concerned that these students would have much trouble choosing the right college for themselves if unable to visit the schools. 

In addition to these worries, the high school class of 2020 felt that this uncertainty in picking the right school could lead to an uneasy transition from high school life to college life as a lot of things change. They provided some helpful advice to make the transition for the class of 2021 a little smoother. One Tulane student, in particular, Alexa Jones, indicated the importance of learning how to balance one’s social life and work. She highlighted that college is “a huge transition” and that “there’s a lot more responsibility and independence that’s needed for success.” Alexa also emphasized that with the difficult transition comes many resources and opportunities that universities grant their students, especially in the “accepting and happy environment” that her university creates. Just in case you are worried about your college readiness, take into consideration what the college freshmen denoted as areas in which High School East prepared them well: workload, communication, strength, course level, and intellectual rigor. 

I hope that the class of 2020 helped to show you that you can succeed in your transition into college life with or without a pandemic. They also want you to know that you should enjoy what you can of this “different” senior year!

Photo courtesy of Facebook @hhhhillseast .