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‘COVID Cohort’ says it was ready for college — despite having high school disrupted by the pandemic

Marianna Morgano got the last word on COVID last spring as she took the microphone during the Class of 2023 commencement at Morgantown High School.

After all, her class — and the classes of her 12th-year counterparts nationwide — had just completed a run of school like no other.

Whole swaths of remote learning.

Canceled proms and basketball games.


Face masks.

And collective angst, as positive cases and sad deaths from the contagion continued to mount in their families and communities.

“We were able to adapt to whatever the world threw at us,” the MHS senior class president said, “and this turned our high school experience into a success story.”

She didn’t realize it, but she was previewing the results of a national survey released Monday charting the academic and social fortunes of a class that entered high school the same time COVID hit town.

In that survey, released by ACT, the nonprofit organization that administers the college readiness exam, some 86% of college-bound seniors — or nearly nine in 10 — reported they were academically ready for new chapters on campus as freshmen this fall.

That doesn’t mean, though, that the “COVID Cohort” — as dubbed by ACT — couldn’t have used a little more help and insight when it came to actually navigating the college admission process, said Janet Godwin, who heads the organization.

“The admissions process remains confusing and opaque,” the ACT CEO said, “even for those who say they’re prepared.”

Making college prep instruction as part of the normal school day will only help demystify the process while helping “more students find a path to and through college,” she continued.

Such instruction, Godwin said, could include primers and pointers when it came to filling out the application.

Other findings: Socially, about 64% of respondents said they very or mostly comfortable about making friends during their first semester of college.

A total of 63% said the same, when it came to finding a extracurricular activity on campus — and 77% said they would be comfortable doing their own laundry and grocery shopping.

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