Making the Most Important Decision of Your Life From Your Living Room

Mai+Ly+Degnan+for+NPR

Mai Ly Degnan for NPR

Emily Baker

About a month ago, the path of the second semester of my senior year was looking clear. Although the receival of college decision letters was nerve-wracking, I looked forward to returning to the campuses, touring with my parents, and attending Accepted Student Days. Making the decision would be tough, but this was the part of the process that I had looked forward to the most. 

When the first wave of college shut-downs and social distancing guidelines flooded in, I tried to stay hopeful that things would clear up quickly. However, as we’ve all experienced, the effects of COVID-19 escalated very suddenly. Within a span of a week, almost all of the American universities had shut down and events for admitted students were cancelled. Suddenly, this part of the process that was supposed to be easy and fun had become a lot more complicated and stressful. Instead of touring a school in person, I’ve had to watch virtual tours via Zoom and Youtube. Instead of attending an information session in the school’s auditorium, I’ve had to type my questions in and hope that the speaker sees my virtual hand being raised. 

Throughout this process, though, I have seen at least two silver linings. First, quarantine has given me more time to dive deeper into online resources and find specific gems about schools that I would not have noticed before. I never would have known that one of my schools has a lazy river, or that another one offers courses on leadership, if I did not have to rely on myself to scour the internet for information. Another positive I’ve experienced is the dedication colleges have shown to their students and school. Everyday, there are new virtual information sessions covering everything from study abroad to student life. And although the constant emails can sometimes feel overwhelming, it shows that these colleges want to provide the most information so that prospective students can make a smart decision.

While I know that making the final decision is about your education and career, I must admit that the celebration is half the fun! Once I “seal the deal,” what’s next? Instead of taking pictures with my friends in the Tarnoff Gym on May 1st, or celebrating with my extended family, I’ll probably just sit back down on the couch. 

I understand that everyone during this crazy time is experiencing their own unique challenges. While it is quite unfortunate that this pandemic came while I have to make one of the most important decisions of my life, I hope that this will be a great story to tell high schoolers one day as I give them a tour of the college I chose from my living room couch.