Summer is here, but the impacts of the pandemic are here to stay
Most high school students start planning for college very early on, and even as early as their first year of high school. However, the pandemic has clearly gotten in the way for many. With tests cancelled or postponed, budgets reduced, and fear of being far from home on the rise, students are being forced to be flexible and adapt their college plans. Here are several ways that students are changing their college plans and how we can teach them that flexibility will help them to achieve in spite of the circumstances.
Choosing pandemic-friendly majors and career paths
Adaptability is not an easy skill to be mastered, but it is one that is proving to be highly valued this year and certainly into the future. The reality of the pandemic is that it left many jobless, a fact that has left certain majors and career paths more risky than they previously would have been otherwise. For example, a high school theater star might be more tempted to go with their second choice major to avoid becoming jobless in the future should another pandemic or similar event strike. In this case, practicality could be more valuable than passion. They should continue to exercise their passion on the side, but should focus on a stable future.
Choosing to be closer to home
Moving halfway around the world for college might have seemed like a great idea pre-pandemic, but many students are facing the reality of being far from their families. Many struggling with distance learning spent a lot of time with their families this year, and the prospect of moving far away for college is no longer the charming dream it once was. Choosing to be closer to home is not necessarily a setback to self-discovery, though. It can give the student a chance to thrive while having a comfortable fallback and a community for emotional support.
Choosing less expensive schools
With the pandemic stripping many families of income sources, the reality of paying for a private university is no longer an option. Therefore, state or public universities, or even shorter programs, may be prioritized to avoid accumulating even more debt. Students may also be more motivated to find jobs to help finance their tuition. Less expensive doesn’t always mean low quality. The important thing to keep in mind is that students are responsible for their own experience. The more they put in, the more they’ll get out.
Choosing to put off college altogether
Some students are deciding to take gap years, struggling with the choices that they have to make about college or just overwhelmed by the intense emotions of this year. This is absolutely not to be condemned, as an extra year can provide students with valuable time to mature, earn money from various jobs, start an entrepreneurial project, and prepare to make the most of their college experience as soon as they’re ready.
Overall, the pandemic is making students change the way they think about their academic futures. For help navigating college post-pandemic, give us a call to schedule a free consultation today!
Neal Schwartz, Owner
College Planning of Westchester
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