Class of 2021 Deserves Sympathy


As the 2020-2021 school year comes to a close, seniors are now preparing to transition into college. (PC: Andre Weiss)

Even with the successful virtual music nights and family feud Zoom show, many experiences for the Class of 2021 have been disappointingly lackluster and an anticlimactic way to end our four- or six-year journey here at Boston Latin School. The Class of 2021 deserves sympathy for our experiences, but differently than the class before.

There is a strong emphasis on different sympathy.

Both the Class of 2020 and 2021 have gone through their fair share of suffering from losing their last moments of in-person school. The last argument needed is a competition of who suffered more, because countless can outcompete any of the suffering we’ve gone through. At the same time, however, there is no need to diminish what has happened to us.

In March 2020, when school was canceled, the Class of 2021 missed many important events such as Music Night, Asian Night, and live performances in theatre and choir. We never got the chance to properly bid farewell either, as everyone thought it would only be an extended spring break (happy first anniversary for our spring break).

Although we knew this year would be virtual, the lack of variety in online schooling has been dull and disappointing for everyone. Wacky Wednesdays were replaced with Mania Mondays, but it just isn’t the same. There is a huge difference between being able to coordinate elaborate matching Power Puff Girl outfits and sitting in front of a camera on February 14 with a pink sweater.

Natalia Tam (I) says, “I think Mania Mondays weren’t promoted very well; I just forgot. […] I think if we were in-person (and if there were more reminders and hype around the days) more people would’ve participated and it would’ve been even more fun.”

Besides the fun, there is also the Class of 2021’s next step: college.

“Overall [Common App] applications were up by ten percent […] unique applicants […] increase[d] […] one percent over last year,” reports data from the Common App, and according to CEO of the Common App Jenny Rickard, “Applicants are also applying to more colleges this year [with] […] a nine percent increase in the application per applicant ratio.”

Many were already aware that competition for college admissions increases every year, but the current pandemic has caused it to increase exponentially. Due to the unusual circumstances and to be extra safe that they will have a place to be next year, seniors applied to many more colleges, leading to a decrease in acceptance rates.

This issue is especially important as the “numbers of first-generation applicants and fee-waiver recipients each declined,” says Rickard, meaning that the socioeconomic divide will continue to widen in this decade. Rickard adds, “More selective member institutions (<50 percent admit rate) generally saw larger increases in application volume than did less selective institutions.” Smaller colleges are hit with decreasing applicants, while top institutions have too wide of a pool to accommodate as the applicants have increased, but not the size of the school.

From BLS-specific to nationwide to even global disappointments, the Class of 2021 deserves your sympathy for our experiences, just as the class before. The situation, thankfully, is not entirely hopeless. In a recent meeting, there has been promising news for graduation, a formal dance and even a few more fun Zoom events to look out for! The experience of remote learning is certainly not what we wanted, and though we can still make the best of what is available and end the year strong, things would be a little easier with your sympathy as well.