High School Students & COVID-19

A Response –

Covid/College Concerns –

Should the high school Class of 2020 opt out of starting college this fall?

Credit to Author Kristie Beck, Savvy Strategies & for reading my mind.

There is an article on Medium that has gone viral, suggesting that the graduating high school seniors should just “don’t” go to college this fall. Wowza, did that article cause a stir – nationally!! Here’s my take, which is a mix of professional knowledge/experience and personal opinion/experience.

First, the author is right in thinking that this fall may be far from normal. Will there be big sporting events? Personally, I think that’s doubtful. Will there be in-person classes? No one can say right now. It’s likely not to be a typical fall semester.

Second, the author is very wrong in thinking that “if they accepted you once, they’ll accept you again.” If you’ve already paid a deposit at a college and then decide not to go, you lose that deposit…and a lot of goodwill. I’d not suggest applying to that school again next year.

Third, the author suggests a gap year? I’m a big big fan of gap years, but deferring for a gap year requires the permission of the school, and they are already being verrrry judicious in granting those. If you don’t already have a gap year planned and documented, I think any graduating senior will have a challenge ahead in seeking a deferral. Colleges need students.

Fourth, wasn’t this application process so much fun? If you can’t defer acceptance for a year, then your only option would be to just withdraw, and you get the joy of going through the whole application process again next year. Yikes. No.

So, I think we teach these graduating seniors/rising college freshmen that life is rough sometimes, and when it is, we put one foot in front of the other and keep moving forward. This will not be a typical fall, for sure. But it’s not a typical spring right now for high school or college seniors. (Or juniors, for that matter. Juniors are trying to get ready to apply to colleges when admission offices are closed, campuses are closed, and SAT/ACT/AP tests are an ongoing train wreck.) It’s strange everywhere, for everyone. Most of us don’t have the option to just “don’t” on the things that are off the rails right now, and I wouldn’t want to tell these kids any different.

They got through the admissions process, got accepted, and made their decisions. They might not get the first semester experience they’d expected, but that’s how it goes sometimes. 🤷🏼‍♀️ None of us is entitled to the experience we expected, ever.

I would say to these graduating seniors: It’s going to be challenging. It’s going to require you to be flexible, patient, and diligent. But there are better days ahead, and you’ll be on campus to watch your chosen school rise up out of the chaos and embrace life and joy. You want to be a part of that.

These hard days? We’re all in them. Life will be hard sometimes, so this is good training for the rest of your life. Stick with it, come what may. You didn’t come this far to only come this far. Onward!

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