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Choosing a college without a visit

As college decision day looms, many seniors are having to choose a school, sometimes without ever setting foot on the campus.

LEHIGHTON, Pa. — On the heels of National College Decision Day, some students from Lehighton Area High School are facing big decisions.

May 1 is the usual date for high school seniors to choose a college, but that deadline has been extended because of coronavirus.

Lehighton Area senior Rebecca Serfass, who wants to attend Cairn University in the fall, says although she visited the school once before, she's still hesitant to fully commit.

"I am the type of person to want to see the full effect of the college and live the life of a student for a day before I completely commit to that school," Serfass said.

Senior Calvin Maholick, who committed to the University of Illinois, doesn't think a visit would have changed his opinion.

"I knew I loved the programs and doing research. I still did love it, but I don't think I would have been quite as drawn to it as I am now," Maholick said. "But I know I wouldn't love it as much as I do now."

While Calvin and Rebecca are either committed to a school or have one in mind, Lehighton area junior Madison Becksted says she's having a harder time finding the right school for her.

"I have been struggling with the feeling of connecting to a school because I haven't visited any colleges except one that I realized I didn't like because I went there. But, so this was kind of my time, junior year, summer, I was going to go and start visiting colleges, but now, during this pandemic, I can't."

One of the schools Becksted is looking into is King's College in Wilkes-Barre.

Michelle Oliva, director of undergraduate admissions, says King's is doing everything possible to help students choose a school without visiting.

"We're connecting and allowing them to feel our hospitality, to feel the concern for them, and working through some of those barriers, listening to what's important to them."

Although choosing a college now is anything but normal, the students say they know better days are ahead.