Class of 2022 navigates this year’s college admissions process


Mikalah Kostalas

Senior Kendyl Donges works on SchooLinks, a college admission platform used by students at Hayes.

Mikalah Kostalas, Staff Writer

As the 2021-2022 school year begins, the senior class is diligently working to complete their college admissions and begin the next step towards the rest of their lives.
Many factors to college admissions are still irregular, but in contrast to last year, there has been progress on making this year’s regulations more normal.
COVID-19 loosened the admission deadlines in the previous years, pushing them back months from when they were originally due. This year, the admissions are back up to mid-fall through late winter.
“[Admission deadlines] typically can be anywhere from November 1, November 15, December 1 or February 1,” College and Career Counselor Jennifer Pollard said. “[Those] are probably the most popular deadlines.”
Although these dates seem exceedingly close, especially for students who haven’t started the process, the colleges themselves have lightened up the tension on the students and their requirements.
“Most colleges are test optional, which means you don’t have to submit ACT or SAT scores for admission,” Pollard said. “You have your choice whether you want to submit them or not”.
For most prominent colleges, the last year that ACT or SAT scores were required was the 2019 school year. After dropping these requirements, colleges have decided to look more in-depth at high school transcripts and how students’ work ethic is perceived.
“Decisions are made more holistically,” Pollard said. “They’re really looking at your GPA, your class rank, the strength of your high school schedule.”
Colleges are seeking prospective students who have completed an abundance of AP and college credit plus classes. This indicates that someone is preparing themselves for college and that they are ready for the obstacles that college can bring.
Statistics are not the only thing colleges are weighing in on, however.
“Secondary factors [include] extracurricular activities, community service, any obstacles that you’ve overcome, work experience,” Pollard said.
For some students, these extracurriculars have made a huge impact on their college admissions.
“For me it was kind of lucky,” senior Chloe Jeffers said. “I’m committed to Butler for basketball so I didn’t have to worry as much about my application because I’m already in the school technically.”
These newly determined factors have helped to alleviate some of the pressure on this year’s seniors, since their past two years of high school have been hindered by the pandemic.
Throughout all of the important decisions being made during this time, Hayes is introducing a new platform to organize the college information for each senior. SchooLinks is a website used to display a student’s transcript and it can also be used to submit letters of recommendation.
In past years, Hayes had utilized a platform called Naviance, though there are a plethora of different college & career websites that can be taken advantage of. Teachers and counselors however, are still learning how to use these platforms.
“Ideally, there is more down the line,” College and Career Literature and Composition teacher David White said. “With it being the first year with SchooLinks, I think it’s being used in a similar way that Naviance was.”
The Common App is also being used to help students at Hayes apply to numerous colleges with ease.
All a student must do is fill out the application with their information and any college that is partnered with the Common App (approximately 900 colleges) will receive the application of the student. Each college charges an application processing fee of around $35 to $70.
The staff at Hayes is trying to help out the seniors as they make decisions about their next steps.
“I’m a little stressed [and] overwhelmed,” senior Chloe Kannally said. “I feel like I have a solid group of three or four teachers that have been helping me a lot with everything.”
The teachers have gone through the same process as the students and understand the apprehension during this time.
“We want students to lean on us to make their lives easier because we are empathetic to the situation,” White said. “This is really tough. It’s difficult. It’s stressful.”
College admissions may be the most important decision a teenager has had to make up until this point in their lives.
With more settlements to come regarding scholarships and financial aid, the first box in their mental checklist is almost able to be checked off for this year’s seniors. Students at Hayes have many resources to turn to at this time and will continue to be supported throughout their college journey.