COVID + College Counseling

College Admissions Advice Amidst Changes in a Pandemic


Erin Gabriel poses outside of her office and reminds students they should already be thinking about their college applications.

Logan Flori, Staff Writer

As senioritis creeps up on wide-eyed seniors, looming college admissions deadlines continue to approach, even more ominous this year due to COVID-19 adjustments. 


Dowling Counselor Erin Gabriel addresses testing policy changes, an added CommonApplication section, important deadlines, and provides a few general tips to stressed seniors.


“The [standardized] testing aspect will be different,” Gabriel said.


Students are no longer required to submit ACT/SAT test scores because some may not have had an opportunity to take the tests, or their scores may have been affected by lack of education on specific subjects during quarantine.


Other changes similarly benefit seniors largely affected by quarantine. 


Gabriel also mentioned a new essay section on the CommonApplication, used by a majority of the students to apply to a vast list of colleges, which allows seniors to answer optional questions pertaining to how they were negatively impacted by COVID-19 this year, or how they were able to take advantage of their unexpected free time. 


Mention of these menacing applications may induce anxiety, but Gabriel lets students in on one specific deadline to be prepared for early.


“The biggest thing is definitely December 1 deadlines,” Gabriel said. 


She feels that even though some schools may have later application due dates, seniors ought to put in the effort early so they are able to enjoy their Christmas break, rather than cram in college work.


Though this deadline may be daunting already, students are not yet far behind on their progress, even if they have not started, according to Gabriel. 


“Everybody’s different, there’s 326 seniors and they’re all on different plans,” Gabriel said, “whether that involves college or not.” 


The key is for each student to figure out what sets them up individually for success. However, Gabriel does remind students that past seniors have preferred to have their applications done earlier rather than later.


So as senioritis hits, seniors are reminded to prioritize their future plans and prepare. 


“No question is a dumb question,” Gabriel said, and she encourages any students with additional questions to email her for a quick answer or to schedule a 1-on-1 meeting.