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COVID Impacts College Application Season For 2nd Year

It's college application season, and COVID-19 is having an impact for the second year running. Student reporter Olivia Streeter checked into enrollment processes with three local higher learning institutions.

Tom Richmond, assistant vice president for enrollment management at Bradley University, said this has been the most unpredictable year in college enrollment. He anticipates more students choosing to attend universities later into the summer than usual--and that will push acceptance dates back, too.

"This year, more than any other year except last year, I foresee colleges being more flexible. Decisions will be made later," Richmond said. "There will be families that can't make a decision because they don't have access to the vaccine that they need to feel comfortable. They haven't been visiting campuses, and their economic situation is unclear."

On the other hand, Brittany Parker, director of marketing and communications for Eureka College, said  Eureka has not noticed a huge change in enrollment numbers.

"Of course, applications have been down due to COVID. That has been expected. But we're pretty much on pace for where we always have been, enrollment wise," Parker said.

Rodney San Jose, director of admissions for Illinois Central College, said the college's expectations have continually changed over the course of the pandemic. He said it has been a learning experience for everyone.

"I think some of us thought that by going virtual, that visiting colleges and learning more about colleges would be a little easier for students," San Jose said. "But I think for many families over the past year, that has been a learning experience."

Richmond, Parker, and San Jose all sid that though COVID has changed the way they do things, their mission to educate has remained the same.

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