COVID-19 & College: How the Pandemic is Changing Ukiah High Seniors Approaching Higher Education


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By John Livingston

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, society is social distancing and wearing masks to stop the virus’s spread. This year’s seniors, Wildcat Nation’s Class of 2021, started the school year distance learning and the decisions regarding college are coming up fast. UHS News spoke with members of the Class of 2021hoping to understand how COVID-19 will affect their decision of going to college.

Before COVID-19 became a reality, Ukiah High Senior Reagan McDougall said, “my plan was to visit colleges, and begin participating in activities that would bring a more holistic approach as a well-rounded student for my applications.”  McDougall said that in reaction to COVID-19, most colleges are closed to campus tours. She also expressed concern regarding the financial aid she would be provided: “I am concerned colleges will have less money to award for financial aid, and I have been unable to sit for the SAT due to cancellations, so that has affected how much merit I would receive, therefore affecting going to college as a whole as of right now.” Ultimately, McDougall still plans to attend college in-person and full time but feels as if, “everything is so up in the air that it’s hard to say for sure.”

12th grader Rhyen Keplinger said, “Before COVID, I wanted to go to a good college and move away.” Thinking about going to college during a pandemic, Keplinger said, “Not that anything changed, it’s just a bit more complicated now. I still want to go to college and move away and live in a dorm, as long as the college allows it.” Keplinger said the only concern holding her back from going to college, “ is the fear of everything that is going on and not being close to home.” Ultimately, she said that “if the option is there, I Would much rather do it in person rather than online!” 

12th grader Brea Brodoski had a different take on college and COVID-19. She said, “before COVID, I was planning on going straight to a four-year college in southern California.”  However, Brodoski explained that the college-entrance requirements changed due to the COVID-19 shut down no longer requiring the SAT and ACT tests. With just her grade point average, Brodoski thinks she can qualify for, “more prestigious schools.”  As she explained, “I still plan on going straight into college. The college experience is something I look forward to a lot so I’m really excited to go onto campus and create a new family.”

John Livingston
John Livingston
John Livingston is a senior at ukiah high. He loves running,biking and being outdoors. He started a landscaping business. He likes to read and write about crime.

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