As COVID-19 continues to spread, high schools and colleges around the world are closing, and students are staying home. Quarantining can feel isolating, but stories like these have the power to change that.
Today’s blog is written by Alexa Sarene Gilbert, a high school junior in Chester Gap, Virginia. Alexa is a dedicated volunteer in her community and hopes to do more volunteer work with her National Honor Society organization in the coming months.
When my principal came over the loudspeaker to tell us we were going on spring break early, I wasn’t surprised. I was only surprised she had waited that long to do so, as we were one of the last schools in my area to shut down. About a week later, the governor of Virginia announced we weren’t going back to school this semester.
The first thing my mind went to was my AP testing schedule. If classes were canceled, how would taking the AP exams work? I was only halfway through two AP classes! How was I going to manage not flunking an incredibly difficult exam with such little instruction? Luckily, the board released information explaining they were going to let us take the exams online. I’ll at least have some AP test scores to share with college admissions officers in a few months. I worry if I can manage a five though!
AP scores might be the only scores I have available to put on college applications. I, like most juniors, waited until spring to take the SAT and ACT. It’s what’s recommended by school counselors, right? Now, our SAT test dates have been cancelled. The ACT has been rescheduled for two dates this summer, but those dates could easily be moved again due to the rapidly changing situation with COVID-19. Even if those dates in the summer aren’t moved, I still won’t have time to retake the tests before I have to begin applying for scholarships. If I don’t score well, that’ll still be the score I’ll have to send out to several scholarship organizations which will hopefully provide me with vital financial aid packages.
In addition to those testing concerns, I’m stressed about my canceled college tours. I’m worried I won’t be able to decide if I like the college’s vibes if I can’t be there in person. While some colleges have set up virtual tours, those can be limited. You can’t see the diversity of the student body (or lack thereof), nor do they show what a normal class looks like, or what the inside and outside of all of the buildings look like. I wish I could talk to current students from each of the colleges I’m looking at attending.
This whole ordeal has been a whirlwind of emotions. I was upset at first. Now, I’m just frustrated. I’m concerned that all of these delays and cancellations will have a negative impact on low-income students such as myself. Even with hours of test prep work, I don’t feel confident about taking my few next steps. I’m hoping things will become clearer soon, for myself and for everyone else in this situation!