COVID-19 pandemic making college choice especially difficult

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — May 1 is college decision day, the traditional deadline for incoming freshmen to commit to a school. But for this year’s high school seniors, the decision is especially difficult.

Campus life is a shell of what it was before the pandemic, but colleges are still trying to attract students the way they have in the past, explains college admissions specialist Sara Harberson.

"They’re still sending the glossy brochure which makes the college look absolutely breathtaking," she said.

Campus visits are limited or non-existent so, in some cases, incoming students have never set foot on the campus.

"When they finally arrive, they realize it is truly a stripped down version of what they anticipated," said Harberson. "It's like believing you're going to a five-star hotel and arriving at a campground with no running water or amenities."

Harberson doesn't expect college life to return to what it was anytime soon.

"I think that is our new reality and that we can't expect students to arrive on campus for a visit or to start freshman year," she said. "We can't expect them to feel the same butterflies that students from past generations had."