Last year in April, I authored a blog entry entitled DECISION RESOURCES.  Within it, there were a number of resources that would be helpful in making YOUR final decision on where to attend college.  But now we are in a different time and what do you do?

Given that the May 1 deadline is this week, I provide the following with caution; and, do confirm with your institutions that May 1 is the deadline — it may have been extended.

STAY THE COURSE: Regardless of this “crazy” time, make a decision that you would have made last fall when you started this process.  Remember when you were sharing your top choices with family, friends, and teachers.  What was the school?  It was your top choice last fall so why would it NOT be your top choice now.  Granted, aspects of the experience may be different, but go for it.

PLAN B: Some students are “scared” to necessarily attend their first choice which is completely understandable; if this sounds like you, select the school / program that is your best fit for next fall.  And, if needed you may consider transfer to your top choice in a future year.  You may not know this but over 40% of college students transfer institutions.

PLAN A AND B: Not ideal but can certainly be done is to select both your top choice and your second choice.  In other words, you inform both institutions that you will be attending – pay the deposit, etc.  Yes, this choice may require additional monies, but it keeps both options open until later in the summer.  Students have done this prior to the pandemic.  Of course, you need to eventually make a decision at some point (earlier than later), but perhaps you gain some insight that helps make a final decision.

COMMUNITY COLLEGE: This choice was NOT on table last fall; you told your family that you would be attending college out-of-state. Well, now, a plausible choice is attending the local community college and transfer next year.  Attending may be a great choice for your pocketbook but be sure to contact your eventual program to discuss the transfer of courses.  If your top choice offers a five-year Bachelor of Architecture, attending a community college may lengthen your college journey but there may still be advantages.  However, if you are attending a pre-professional degree, a community college may be a good choice.

GAP YEAR: A new choice that has surfaced more recently is a GAP Year; now, it is NOT a means to postpone your college education.  Instead, according to the GAP Year Association, it an opportunity to 1) Volunteer / Service, 2) Career Exploration, 3) Paid Work, and 4) Free Radical (allowing some space to explore the “unknown.”  In other words, selecting to take a GAP Year is intentional; it is NOT just an excuse for not attending college.

“A semester or year of experiential learning, typically taken after high school and prior to career or post-secondary education, in order to deepen one’s practical, professional, and personal awareness.” – GAP Year Association

Clearly, your 2019-2020 academic year was not normal, and we still do not know what the fall will bring.  When making this major / life decision, I suggest you be sure to obtain all the information needed to make the more informed decision possible.  As is possible, contact the school / program for more details.

Wishing you the best in your decision and the coming years.

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