College Planning: Looking Ahead To The Future During Uncertainty

It can be painstakingly challenging to look ahead of the current state of life right now and making plans. However, doing simply that is what keeps us going. Leaning towards the future while securing the sanity of today is how we get through these fearsome times.

Here is a list of ways to keep the planning process in motion during these uncertain times.

Stay Ready So, You Don’t Have To Get Ready Now is not the time to stress our children out about college entrances etc. However, we can encourage them to consider, logging on to college test prep sites occasionally, to brush up on testing. This is not to stress them out, but more so to keep their interest level in place and keep them feeling positive about their future. Keep Vetting Simply because we are amidst a pandemic, that does not mean we have to stop thinking about the future. Encouraging our children to keep searching is healthy for them. If we discourage their search, we could be inviting feelings of anxiousness, depression or anxiety. Follow Prospective Institutions Admissions Social Media Accounts Many colleges have been hosting online Q&A’s for students to navigate the looming questions they may have about programs, or the admissions/application process. While much of the formalities are uncertain, it's a fine idea for prospective students to follow these institutions on social media, to maintain the latest updates and information regarding admissions.

Dive Deeper Into Career Exploration This is an opportunity for prospective students to look at what's going on with the world today and think about careers they may be interested in. I believe it is during this time, there are students who are more interested in healthcare than ever before, there may be students who feel called to be in the public sector and become involved in politics, and the list goes on. This is an absolute grand opportunity for students to check out various areas of study and determine how those professions are being utilized during this time.

Location of Prospective Institutions The evacuation of many college students' last month was definitely an unforeseen occurrence. Many parents incurred an unexpected cost of transportation and logistics to get their child home safe and sound during the height of school closures. This is the time to have a conversation as a family regarding how distance can be a key power player due to emergencies. Consider what this means for the student and the family. Keep Your Options OPEN With change, come opportunities. Just because a college may not have been attractive before the pandemic, doesn't mean the school may not offer something more in alignment with how you see things moving forward. This is a conversation we must have with our children because many things will change. Financing The Future Many students will be facing the academic year in the fall and the following academic year, with parents who have lost their job or still recovering from the remnants of this crisis, next year this time. This means parents and students need to have a "heart conversation" about how schools will be financed and how money can impact college options. It's important this conversation happens before mentally committing to any institution. The money factor can change the narrative quickly.

A Change of Plans The novel Coronavirus has altered high schoolers' thoughts and plans of venturing off to college. For many, this has opened their eyes to many other things and for others they are fearful, not knowing the outcomes of future days, weeks and months. With this and the anxiety wreaking havoc on our prospective college students, it's to no surprise that plans are changing rapidly.

Per the Arts and Science Group, one out of six high-school seniors has decided to rethink their decision to enroll full time in a bachelor's degree program this fall. Here’s what they plan to do instead: Take a “gap year” (I would like to call this a mental health year to process) 35% Enroll part-time in a 4-year college 35% Enroll in a 2-year college 7% Work full time 6% Enroll in a certificate/apprenticeship program 4% Don’t know 13%

Source: Art & Science Group, LLC Get the data Created with Datawrapper Listen, this is new for all of us. I have a high school junior and this has definitely thrown a monkey wrench in the plans we had just a little over a month ago. During that time, we had an hour-long meeting with her school counselor to discuss college planning and within the blink of an eye, all of the information she shared is no longer relevant. Although this is not something we forecasted, we can only move ahead with the information we do have. Let's start planning! College Planning Online Events