As students who are going to apply to colleges and universities in their next school year, juniors at CA would usually be introduced to the college process toward the start of their second semester. Besides meeting their college counselors and having one-on-one talks with them in-person, they would also take seminars, where they get to sit down in groups and obtain a more comprehensive understanding of the application process. There are also several in-person college fairs and trips later in the semester, which serve as an important step in their college research journeys. However, this spring differs from the ones in the past. Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, college counseling for juniors has transitioned online. The remote system has imposed many challenges upon both students and teachers, and the counseling team continues to confront them in new ways. 

On Saturday, January 9th, juniors of the class of 2022 attended their first introduction workshop online with their parents. The Zoom meeting was held by the college counseling team at CA, during which the faculty took turns explaining the general procedure and timeline of college application. Admission representatives from several universities also dropped in to make a brief introduction to their schools. The workshop marked the very first step in juniors’ journey in applying to colleges. They soon received introductory letters from their college counselors and were assigned multiple tasks to complete before the March break, such as filling out a survey, reading a handbook, setting up meetings with their counselors, and starting to research for their ideal colleges. 

Though the application process seems stressful to newcomers, CA counselors emphasized the importance of attending a college that suits the applicant’s character and visions. While some would first look at an institution’s reputation and competitiveness to judge its quality of education, counselors encourage students to consider other aspects. To further show juniors the nuanced facets to this procedure, mandatory junior seminars started online in the second semester. Those short, weekly classes not only provide basic information about details juniors need to know, but also help with their journeys of self-exploration. It is important for applicants to better understand themselves before searching for colleges that are “good fits” for them. 

Since in-person college fairs and visits are cancelled, CA has found new opportunities for juniors of the 2022 class. Online sessions and workshops where counselors talked about financial aid application, visual arts in college, and athletic recruiting were held in the past weeks, providing adequate chances for students to know more about specific areas of information. In the upcoming month, there will also be two optional European college fairs, during which admission representatives from eight universities in countries such as Italy, Germany, and Austria will present their schools and converse with students in open virtual booths. 

Even under the remote conditions, juniors have strictly scheduled deadlines set up for them. Their upcoming assignments for the March break include paying virtual visits to at least four colleges. Though the process, now transitioned online, entails challenges, juniors have many internet resources to resort to, and the CA counseling team is always there to assist and guide them.