2020 has been a diabolical year for most people, and those who are considering going to college have had a real tough time of it. Covid-19 has had a huge impact on young folks, and high school graduates are rethinking their plans for higher education.
In the past, fewer than 3 percent of graduates have taken a year or more off between high school and college. After the coronavirus hit and shook up the economy causing uncertainty across business and education, about one in six high school seniors say they will definitely (or most likely) not attend college in the fall. 16 percent of these folks plan to take a gap year.
There has been a big shakeup in terms of the way people go about life in general, and going to school isn’t the same as what it was before. Online learning has accelerated faster than ever, with people signing up for courses at an unprecedented rate. Yale saw a 295 percent increase in enrollment for their “Science of Wellbeing,” and Berkley’s course on happiness now has over half a million people registered. Staying at home and learning online seems safer than exposing yourself to a possible hospital visit — or even worse.
The fact that there have been numerous outbreaks in colleges around the country has understandably caused concern among parents, teachers, and students alike. It was reported that there have been at least 14 coronavirus-related deaths at colleges. All over the U.S., the virus has caused havoc and made folks reconsider their ideas about school. It’s no surprise, given the fact that the University of Washington saw at least 136 residents infected, and Harris-Stowe State University in St. Louis had eight administrative workers test positive. It isn’t just students and teaching staff that are affected either. A North Carolina University had at least 41 construction workers test positive while working at campus building projects.
The virus doesn’t care whether you are a student trying to better your life or a person swinging a hammer. It does not discriminate, and if you aren’t concerned about it, the statistics would suggest at least giving it some reasonable thought.
Getting an education means better job prospects and a better life overall including health benefits. Health is obviously a big concern at the moment. Federal government statistics show that, on average, a 25-year-old with a bachelor’s degree will live almost a decade longer than the same age group if they didn't complete high school.
The CDC says college graduates also have lower rates of obesity compared to high school dropouts. So, higher education has value, but staying safe in 2020 seems to have trumped getting that education on a college campus.
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