It’s said that choosing where to go to college is one of the most important decisions a high school senior makes, and this year, that seems truer than ever. It’s not just where you decide to go to college – it’s when, and if, and a whole host of other questions. Much research has been done on what high school seniors might choose to do in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. But now is the time to reflect on what seniors can do, especially as National Decision Day looms on the horizon. At Scholarships.com, we want to help high school seniors feel empowered in these novel times. Below, we outline what your choices are and how to enact them.
You may choose to treat your college acceptance like it were any other year and send in your initial deposit as expected. The college of your choice will likely keep you updated on their plans for the fall semester and their COVID-19 resources for incoming students. Some schools may decide to postpone classes returning to campus until later on in the fall semester or even into January, as Boston University has suggested.
Students who do not feel optimistic about colleges opening their campuses in the fall can submit their enrollment deposit and request a deferment of admittance. The process for requesting a deferment is different for every college, and usually requires getting in contact with the college’s office of admissions. Know that in deferring your admittance, you will have to re-apply for financial aid the following year. If you defer a year, you’ll want to find something to do. Many students choose to take a gap year – if that’s you, read on!
Incoming students often defer admittance to take a gap year, and this year more students have reported an interest in taking a gap year instead of attending online classes. It’s important to consider that not all gap year programs will be running come the fall. Much like colleges, programs may not be able to open and might have to push their start dates later into 2020 or even into 2021. Get in touch with specific gap year programs that interest you for their plans before you make your decision.
Some high school seniors are considering attending college closer to home in an effort to save money and reduce living expenses. If you are interested in applying to one such school, you’ll want to do your research. Find the local colleges in your area and reach out to their admissions office. See if they have programs that interest you and learn how they support commuter students. These small schools want students to enroll to help out their bottom line, too.
No senior should have to shoulder all this uncertainty on their own. If you are still between options, you can reach out to your school counselor, get in touch with your school of choice’s admission office, or talk things over with your parents or mentors. And here at Scholarships.com, we’re adding new scholarships daily to help you pay for college, this year and beyond.