Juniors: Planning our future in a futureless world

Lindsay Romano


Regardless of the situation around them, college preparation is stressful for juniors every year. However, for the class of 2021 new challenges arise as we attempt to plan our post high school lives in a time where even the future of the world is unclear. Not to mention the cancellation of numerous opportunities typically used to boost college applications leaving us with a less complete image of ourselves to present to the strangers deciding our fate.

Although many colleges and universities have become test optional to better assess rising seniors, simply not taking the SATs or ACTs is not as easy as it seems. Without the opportunity to submit these test scores, more pressure is placed on other aspects of the application, such as the essays. Some juniors may appreciate this as an advantage, but for other students who may be less confident in their writing abilities, this is a major setback. 

Many juniors also place a focus on AP classes and receiving high enough grades on the final test to gain college credit for these courses. However, this year earning that credit after a semester, or even a whole year, of hard work and dedication relied upon one or two questions in a 45 minute remote test. Sure, you can choose to not submit your scores, but if you put a large amount of effort into a class, it is frustrating not to have a score to show for it.

While all of these problems will have an effect on acceptance into schools, the application is only one piece of preparing for college. The most important piece of planning for your future is actually picking the institution where this future will take place. Of course, there are numerous online searches and resources available to try to find a college or university that is right for you, but many schools look very similar when simply looking at the biographical facts.

I have asked numerous sources about how they were able to narrow down their choices to one final selection and most of them have given me the same answer: when they were on campus they could just feel it was the right place. Would someone like to tell me how we are supposed to get this magical feeling is we can’t tour any colleges in person? I don’t think this “feeling” transfers through my computer screen as I navigate a virtual tour of an empty campus from the comfort of my own home. 

While high schools, colleges, and universities across the country are attempting to minimize these countless obstacles presented to juniors by the global situation, no amount of changes in the system can truly make the search any less daunting. The fact of the matter is, the class of 2021 is planning their future without even knowing what their senior year will look like, or even what the next few years will hold for the rest of the world, which is simply not an easy task.