How covid is affecting junior year

Tara Goff, Staff Writer

Our path that we take in life is, in large part, all in the hands of our sixteen, seventeen, and eighteen-year-old self. At this point in our lives, we begin to think about what careers we want to pursue, where we will pursue them, and how we will get there. Even in times of normalcy, junior year is notorious for extreme pressure and students’ lack of sleep. But in times of COVID-19, how is the “new normal” affecting the chaotic lives students endure?

From one perspective, it may seem as though juniors this year have it easy. For example, the twelve summative limit and having no formative grades may seem like a relief. There are less things we need to study for, and therefore less late nights spent cramming instead of sleeping. However, limited grades also limit the number of chances to do better; you can no longer boost your grade with another one, as there simply is not enough time. Ms. Estevez, who teaches AP US History, said “The work-load is less, but that might not be helpful for students. The activities are harder, and some aren’t necessarily very good at tests.” Additionally, you cannot learn from your mistakes on formative grades. While the formative activities are still given, many are not motivated, as they do not count towards the overall grade. For her class, Estevez has her students “do lots of seminars and annotating documents,” a stark contrast from the usual dressing-up and tea parties in that class. She also notes how it is harder to teach online, so the students at school are better at following deadlines and participating, as structure is necessary. “The kids at home don’t reallknow some of their teachers, so that will be hard to ask for college recommendations. 

A major decision factor in college admissions is standardized test scores, whether the student chooses to take the SAT or ACT. Due to countless test cancellations because of the pandemic, many schools decided to waive this part of the application process for the class of 2021. Read Noah’s article for more information.  

Because this is still an issue nowPope, for example, cancelled the December SAT they hosted as well as sent students home during the March SAT due to overcrowding – some schools are already relieving this burden for the class of 2022This list includes, but is not limited to, Agnes Scott, Berry College, Emory University, Mercer University, and others among the nation. While relieving the burden (which is both time and financial), this also poses problems. First, it sets those who are able to take these tests far above those who are not, even though this may be through no fault of their own. On the other hand, college admissions have, since 2007, required SAT and ACT scores. Previous applicants had to go through the process, so some believe the SAT and ACT coordinators should just offer more opportunities for students to take them, so that way all colleges are accepting people based on the same standards. 

Outside of school, students have lost opportunities to tour colleges, which could make the decision process even harder. Additionally, this is a fun and exciting way to relieve some of the stress of the unknowns in the future. Most schools have cancelled all group tours, so it may be difficult to see what one has to offer. There are, however, some virtual tour options on Naviance, which Roswell students use to navigate transcripts and applications. 

Lily Frank, junior, spent her spring break making the most of college visitsmainly focusing on schools in North Carolina and Virginia. While no tours had proper guides, she was able to walk around campuses, either self-guided or with friends of hers who attend some colleges. Despite expected challenges, Frank said the colleges had “information packets that you could pick up at the admissions office.” She notes how she feels as though these are adequate representations of what to expect in campus life.