An Interview with the College Counseling Office


Photo Courtesy of Viewpoint School

Naomi Engle

The pandemic has thrown a wrench in all aspects of life, forcing many to reevaluate their priorities and adapt to a world inside. The world wasn’t prepared for a long-term shutdown, and the class of 2020 was forced to deal with merely a shell of what they’d hoped would be their crowning senior year. 2021 has not been very different, and although the seniors this year will be able to salvage some aspects of what is considered a “traditional” graduation, the world of college is all but the same. The 2021 graduates certainly are a noteworthy group of students who traversed through the “ordeal” of online learning and abnormal school life. Nevertheless, while such “ordeal” may profoundly impact seniors as all are applying to colleges, the college counseling office has worked with them to ensure their application processes are as normal as possible. The college counseling office also experienced abnormality due to the pandemic, and the Patriot wanted to discover just how “abnormal” 2020 was.


To learn more on this, Engle spoke to one of the college counselors, Ms. Davis.


Were you expecting a change in the admissions criteria due to the pandemic?  If so, how did you prepare students for it?

The fact that students couldn’t take standardized tests (SAT and ACT) at national test centers was the biggest change this year. We responded by administering 138 standardized tests at Viewpoint this year. We also encouraged students who were really stressed out about testing not to take them, because they were optional at virtually all colleges and universities this year.


Why do you think there was a lower admissions rate into Ivy league or other stereotypical top schools (schools parents and students always mention) this year for Viewpoint?

Applicant pools at the most selective schools this year saw high numbers of applications. Many recorded double-digit percentage increases in applications from last year. That made the highly selective schools even more selective for all students around the world, as these are global applicant pools.


Do you think that next year will be back to normal?  What have you learned during the pandemic that you think people will carry over to next year?

It’s hard to know how things will be for the next admissions cycle. This year confirmed what I have known to be true every year, which is that students who do good college research, are realistic, and who identify the schools that are a good fit for them will have great college options. This was true this year as with any year. Another point that was confirmed this year is the importance for students to focus on their own process and not do a lot of comparing or judging of others and their college choices. Everyone has different needs and goals…especially during a pandemic!


How is the college counseling office going to prepare for next year?

If you mean how is the College Counseling Office going to prepare for next year, we will do what we always do in the summer. We will evaluate our programming, understand what is happening on a national level in admissions, and we’ll encourage students to take personal responsibility for their college process. Our advice will remain focused on helping students with their individual needs and goals.


This interview was conducted via email.