Parents of seniors: You are facing a very important decision

By College Advice

The Coronavirus College-Gap Year Decision

Uncertainty has dampened the excitement of heading to college for most high school seniors.  The Learning Consultants has developed a process for leading our clients through the difficult decisions they will face.

Specifically, we have a framework for guiding our clients to crafting compelling gap year possibilities and/or sorting out whether to attend a different college than initially intended due to the current crisis.

Our reasoning is to ensure that our clients have a Plan B – and in some cases Plan A – to compare against potentially challenging start of college options facing freshmen in the fall.

For most, the gap year – something that we have urged many of our clients to consider for years – has become a more viable option.  Through working with hundreds of students in crafting exceptionally interesting and valuable gap years, we are confident we can do the same for your children.  This does not mean that students will choose the gap year. Instead, they will simply have an option to consider if starting college this year does not seem optimal.

We worry that many of our clients will face some variation of the following scenarios:

(1) Late college decisions to start with distance learning or postpone opening until January

Our clients who do not have a gap year option will be faced with very difficult decisions.

Should they pay for distance learning in the fall? For those who have no alternative plan, many parents will feel compelled to do so.

For colleges that start in January, should they just wait to matriculate the following fall?

Similarly, the thought about starting mid-year and then making up first semester at some later point will not seem attractive.  But if our clients have a comparatively attractive gap year or at least plan to consider, they will be able to make the decision more sensibly.

(2) Mid-semester sent back home

 Perhaps even more challenging, there is a reasonable possibility that students will head back to college this year and then, just as they are getting their bearings, will be forced to come home again.  At this point, distance learning will be the forced option.

(3) Shifting the college decision to a now more attractive alternative

 We also know that some of our clients are now reconsidering their college decisions. For some, staying closer to home, attending less expensive colleges, and deciding not to attend colleges that may be in danger of closing have made the decision process highly confounding.   We are consulting with our clients on these issues as well.

Through our expertise and decision-making process, we are confident that we can provide clarity for this immensely important life decision.