The ins and outs of applying to college in the year 2020


Credit: Lucy Heystek

Heystek poses with her acceptance letter to University of Michigan. She is still awaiting letters from multiple schools.

Ellie Haase, Social Media Editor

During the summer when many students are enjoying their time off from school, seniors are kicking off their college application process. Everyone students’ application process looks different, and each persons’ circumstances affect the decision they make about where they will attend college. 

This year, all the seniors’ application processes looked different than in previous years as we are in a global pandemic. 

Senior Maya Mielke said the pandemic influenced her application process by “opening my eyes up to what I want to do in life.” She had originally planned to move to Detroit to attend Wayne State University, but during quarantine, she realized she wanted to stay close to home in case she needed her parents.

Senior Jane Heystek however, used the extra time that was available, due to being stuck at home and having classes online only a few times a week, to devote time to complete her applications. Heystek noticed, though, that there was a lack of guidance from the teachers and counselors compared to if Loy Norrix students were attending school in person. 

“Suggestions on a Google document pale in comparison to sitting with a teacher and working through a paper line-by-line to improve it,” said Heystek.

 At the end of the day, Heystek still accomplished her goal of applying to multiple colleges and even a few out-of-state universities, and she got plenty of feedback on her essays from teachers and peers.

Mielke went through the application process without the help of her parents, but said, “It was a personal choice, I just wanted to learn how to do it on my own because I’m going to have to do a lot of things on my own soon.” 

Although her parents didn’t help her with the physical application, she said her friends and family were her support system during the process and beyond. 

Conversely, Heystek had the help of her parents during this process. “They helped me complete financial aid forms such as the FAFSA and CSS Profile, proofread my numerous supplemental essays, and supported me emotionally as I worked through this strenuous process,” Heystek said.

Finally, students started to get the letters showing that all their hard work in school and on their applications paid off! Early Decision and Early Action letters started rolling out in December and are continuing to roll out. Some students have already gotten accepted into the school of their dreams and have verbally committed to going there. National College Decision Day on May 1st, the deadline for seniors to commit to a college, is approaching quickly. 

Some students are already posting their announcements on social media to share with their peers. Some seniors are feeling rushed to make their decision since other seniors have already been accepted and committed to schools. 

Heystek said, “I’ll admit… it’s a bit daunting, knowing that so many people have already committed to where they will be going for the next four years while I still have no idea where I’ll end up in 7 months.”

The truth is, there are many seniors feeling the same way as Heystek. All seniors are at different spots on their journey since not everybody applied for Early Decision/Action. Some students, like Mielke, have already committed to their university. Some students are still waiting for their acceptance letters like Heystek. And some students have been accepted to all their desired schools, but they’re simply just waiting to make that huge decision to make sure it’s the right one.

In Heystek’s circumstances, she applied to multiple out-of-state schools, so some of the dates and deadlines aren’t the same. Heystek has been accepted to numerous universities but is still awaiting letters from the University of Michigan, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Washington University, Lee University, and Vanderbilt University. She’s expecting answers by the end of January all the way through mid-March. 

Heystek said, “I am still waiting to hear back from some of my top schools, and that is out of my control.” 

Although both seniors have had very different experiences while applying for college and choosing their school for the next four years, they have both learned a lot. 

Mielke has the confidence to choose the school that will best serve her needs.

“Nobody else can make a decision like this for me because it is my future and knowing that really helped me pick a school because knowing I was in control of my education helped me pick the option that was best for me,” said Mielke.

“This process seemed very intimidating and almost impossible at first,” Heystek continued. “I remember looking at page after page of the Common Application information section this summer, wondering how I would ever get this done, but I promise you that it can and will get done. Start early, take your time, make a to-do list and never be afraid to ask for help. I’m glad to be done with applying and now it’s a waiting game. This is the fun part!”