More Than An Application

Kolbie Christensen, Editor-In-Chief (2020-21)

Senior year is full of firsts and lasts. Taking in the last of the high school classes, football games and dances that felt like they would never come to end is bittersweet. As well as trying to find the perfect school, taking the first college visits, applying to college for the first time and finding a new home. All while trying to soak up every last memory of high school.
This year has been no different for seniors, except for the added stress of COVID-19. With so many difficulties and so much uncertainty, the class of 2021 has had to take on college applications in unexpected ways.
BV West Senior Natalie Dresdow is no stranger to college stress or applications as she has applied to over six universities. Looking to get her masters in teaching and secondary education Dresdow definitely had her work cut out for her.
“I ride horses and want to be on a team that is more competitive,” Dresdow said.
While horses are a big part of her college decision, Dresdow also considered location and the type of school she wishes to attend.
“I only applied to private universities. I love the east coast, and also wanted to be somewhere with a warmer climate,” Dresdow said.
With COVID-19 even affecting college applications, seniors and colleges have had to adapt. With many schools deciding to go test-optional, meaning that students could decide not to submit an ACT or SAT score, this leaves seniors with many options. Some have decided to not submit their scores while others have.
Drewsdow on the other hand, decided she wanted to send in her score.
“I did not go test optional. I took the ACT twice and submitted those scores,” Dresdow said.
Another issue that many seniors are running into is being unable to go on college visits, opting for virtual tours. While colleges still trying to have visits is helpful, seniors not being able to see their potential future home leave many frustrated.
Dresdow has been on college tours and even some virtual ones,
“Virtual tours never do the school justice- vistinging multiple times has really helped,” Dresdow added.
Dresdow says that one of her biggest challenges she has faced so far is trying to figure out what schools she wants to apply to. Acknowledging that there are many other challenges that seniors not just at BV West are experiencing.
“I think the pandemic definitely had an effect on people’s applications. I know many people that had issues with [standardized] testing as well as some GPA’s being affected by their ability to do school online,” Dresdow said.
Dresdow says that she is most proud of being able to take the ACT and submitting her scores as well as being able to ride horses in front of potential coaches.
Another BV West senior who knows the difficulties of the college application process is Sara Alam. Alam is applying to Brigham Young University in hopes to major in exercise science.
With BYU being one of the top colleges for exercise science combined with her love for Utah it was a no brainer to apply to BYU for Alam.
Due to COVID-19 it has been hard for students to take the ACT let alone find one that they could sign up for.
Alam decided to go test-optional for her application because she believes her test score isn’t where she wants it.
One thing that sets Alam apart from other students who might be applying to BYU is that she is Muslim. BYU is a Latter-Day Saints school meaning most of the student body is Mormon.
“It’s a little weird being Muslim and applying to an LDS university, but a lot of the morals that Muslims have line up with morals that LDS members have. We don’t consume alcohol or do drugs, we choose to dress more modest,” Alam said.
Being Muslim and applying to BYU was nervewracking for Alam because she didn’t know how accepted she would feel. After talking to other LDS members Alam feels much more at ease and doesn’t have to worry.
While COVID-19 was a challenge that every senior had to overcome for applications, Alam said it wasn’t her biggest challenge. Instead it was the ecclesiastical endorsement she had to get in order to even apply to BYU.
Alam had to agree to the BYU honor code as well as meet with the bishop of a local LDS church and the university chaplain to get their endorsement to submit her application.
“That was the hardest part because I was the first ever non-church member that the bishop had ever interviewed so I was nervous I might not get his endorsement because of that. But, it was the total opposite, he was super excited that a non-member was interested in the university and happily gave me his endorsement,” Alam said.
Not only is Alam proud of her endorsement, she also adds that having to write six essays for her application is another achievement. Especially her final essay that she had to write about her parents.
Senior Natalie Lindmark applied to eleven schools and ended up getting into her dream school Baylor University. As well as having to pull her applications from five other schools after committing to Baylor.
“It was a dream getting in, I was so happy in that moment getting in but also so relieved to have had it work out so perfectly,” Lindmark said.
Lindmark also added that she went test-optional, believing that test scores aren’t all that matters on an application.
“I went test-optional, but felt my strengths and involvement in other areas in my application weighed out any disadvantages that had,” Lindmark said.
The college application process is not the same for everyone and looks different depending on the student, this year definitely adds a couple more hurdles for seniors to jump over. Whether it’s college visits going virtual, or students unable to take the SAT and ACT, nothing about the application process this year was easy. Whether they’re flying across the country or going forty minutes away, after what they have experienced this year, BV West seniors are definitely up for the challenge.