COVID 19 upends college plans for some students

Valerie Kramer

While acknowledging the gravity and pain of the state of our world through a medical and human lens, seniors also grapple with the loss of prom, graduation and the last fleeting months of high school and summer. Financial hardships coupled with deposit deadlines and rumors of fall campus closures leave many seniors in a sort of limbo with regards to their post-high school plans.

According to an article by CNN Chancellor Timothy White of the University of California system explained that campuses in this system will most likely not reopen for fall 2020 sessions. Stories and circumstances like this are causing many seniors to reevaluate their choices for the next year while also questioning what school will look like should they be allowed to attend in the fall.

According to a CNBC article a survey they found described that “Of the high school juniors and seniors polled, 27% said their plans after graduation have changed and 44% said the pandemic has affected their plans to pay for college”. This startling statistic shows the expansive number of high school students who are reconsidering their college plans due to coronavirus.

Senior Chloe Marmuad falls into these statistics, changing her college plans because of the current situation. She was going to attend American University of Paris majoring in International business/relations but will instead be doing a semester at community college because of the difficulty in obtaining the necessary visas to attend a college outside of the United States.

“Due to COVID-19 I am currently unable to get a French Visa because the French Consulate is closed right now,” Marmaud said. “It will probably open sometime soon but they are only giving out a small number this year, so it would be tricky for me to get by the end of the summer. Because of this and the fact that my parents aren’t comfortable sending me to France I will not be going for fall semester.”

Community college, with it’s lower tuition and the ability to transfer, has long been an extremely useful resource for high school students. According to an article done by CNBC on community college in the midst of COVID-19, they explain that “Historically, community colleges see an influx of students during economic downturns.” The author adds that, “This time, there are added incentives that could draw even more students, who may not want to travel or live in a dorm amid a public health crisis.”

Many students in this era of Coronavirus seem to be leaning towards this path to education. According to an article by NBC “One in 10 high school seniors who were planning to attend a four-year college or university before the pandemic have also already made alternative plans, and nearly half of those have said they will enroll at a community college.”

The same NBC article reports that California’s Foothill College located in the Bay Area has seen an uptick in enrollment since the beginning of this pandemic.
“The college had almost 820 more new students than the same time last year, a 314 percent increase, said Simon Pennington, interim associate vice president of college and community relations. Some of the new students are also enrolled at four-year institutions,” The article said.

Juniors, now walking into the college admissions process during these times, will similarly struggle with a new college landscape and difficult choices.

“I believe that there will be a vaccine in the upcoming year so hopefully thing will go back to normal,” Marmaud said, “My advice would be to apply and try to go to your dream school. If I that doesn’t work out community college is a really good way to get some GEs out of the way and it’s super inexpensive and then you can continue your education at the school or your dream.”