{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "Hi college men and women.\n\nI have a question for you, if you don’t mind.\n\nMy HS Senior son has received acceptance letters from a few schools and will soon be deciding.\n\nA) he hasn’t been able to visit any of the remote schools due to COVID and he likely won’t get many good visits before decision day\n\nB) his HS senior year sucked thanks to COVID. Would you jump into college as a freshman this fall or take a year off?", "post_id": "6057f3048d327e00229f5112", "reply_count": 24, "vote_count": 1, "bowl_id": "5fdbeef07748c5001ae5543a", "bowl_name": "Career Advice for Students", "feed_type": "bowl" }

Hi college men and women.

I have a question for you, if you don’t mind.

My HS Senior son has received acceptance letters from a few schools and will soon be deciding.

A) he hasn’t been able to visit any of the remote schools due to COVID and he likely won’t get many good visits before decision day

B) his HS senior year sucked thanks to COVID. Would you jump into college as a freshman this fall or take a year off?

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It sucks that he hasn’t been able to visit any of his schools. For me, visiting was important to feel out the “vibe” of the campus and see if I would fit in.

That being said, I would’ve still chosen to go to college in the fall even if I hadn’t had the chance to visit. The biggest reason would be that I really wouldn’t have had anything else to do in a gap year, and classes will probably be in person in the fall. Transferring is always possible if things don’t work out


Depending on your family’s financial resources, your son should go to school in the fall.

While visiting is important, your son will have a great and transformative experience no matter where he attends, so pick the best school with the best alumni network. This will pay dividends in career outcomes.

That first semester is important for forming relationships, getting familiar with the university culture and structure, and self-discovery. Not a need to have, but very much a nice to have.

I’m cautiously confident in person learning will resume this fall, I will confidently say that there are aspects of in-person learning that simply cannot be replicated online.

Delay that commitment date as long as you can... visits might even happen this summer.

Net net, I think the value of a 4-year, in-person college experience is still extremely valuable if you approach it with the right mindset and goals.


Start now - he will be able to make relationships once back onsite. Can't tell you how many people I know had a rough time adjusting their first semester and posted lowest GPA then. Learning from home can help focus on school, then intro college life once they have a handle on academics.

I'd say do the semester online.
It sucks he's losing out on the experience. But it's during a time where it's already bad. It prepares him better for a world where people aren't always gonna be meeting face to face.
Unless you have deep pockets and are willing to let him backpack through europe or something, which he probably can't cause of covid I'd advise to just take the suffering now.


Pertaining to technology consulting, I’m currently a senior at UT as well as a technical support advisor for Apple. Does a job move to technology consulting seem like a good idea based on this?


IBM - UT has plenty of tech classes any student can take no matter the major. There's a computer science certificate/minor where students can take Python programming classes. Other classes in the sequence include data science, software engineering, and mobile app development.

Really depends on the young adult. My 18 yr old son was a college freshman starting in 2020. His first semester he did online, remote. His school "opened" to have students on campus. But it barely represented the college experrience. All his classes were remote, dining halls take out only. His dorm barely had RAs, none on his floor. No "get to meet each other" dorm events. The whole experience brought on stress and anxiety issues from when he was younger. I had to go get him 3 weeks in, he withdrew from classes soon after that. Between the young adult and how the school is doing things is where the answer lies. Just working on getting my son back on his feet again. Best of luck to you.


Go to community college for a year. Get some Gen Eds out of the way, save a TON of money, and weather the uncertainty


Agree with everything said here. Visits are important to get a feel for the campus. However, many colleges I know of are returning to almost all in person classes next fall so I would still go to college as a freshmen next fall. Try to do as much research about each campus as you can. I can’t imagine what it’s been like to finish high school during this pandemic, I feel for your son!


Honestly, yes. A gap year might be beneficial, he can get some perspective on life.


...and if you need any ideas about technology consulting, I can hopefully provide some useful ideas.

I would still go to school in the fall. There is a possibility that in-person learning may resume in the fall or most likely Spring 2022. Have these schools shared information on openings? Which states are these schools in?

I never visited any colleges but ended up loving my experience in another state. I wouldn't use that as an excuse to take a gap year. Lots of resources online to help make that decision, even though its not entirely the same as going in-person.

I would recommend that they do not skip a year unless they have plans to do something intentionally that year. I just imagine it be difficult to take a year off and have to go back to school. Might mess up their current learning mentality and potentially their excitement for college.

Jump into college, stay aggressive on education. Visiting is important for the experience but that degree is the prize. Remain focused, encourage him, go to college and don’t take the gap year.

My university has said that we will have a normal fall semester. With the pace of vaccination and time already in the pandemic things are getting better and people are adjusting. Everyone is used to wearing masks all the time on campus. I say he should go, but I’m not sure the best way to make that decision. Choose a school with the major you want and make the decision with the idea that if you hate it in a year you can transfer.

Starting your first semester online is really hard, it makes it near impossible to make friends, from a study group, etc and will have an overall detrimental effect for the rest of there college life. Taking a year off is better

As an international student, I have never visited any school before committing. I find that it’s not about the school per se, but your son’s personality. I have experienced everything I wanted out of college (Greek life, extracurricular, president of clubs, form everlasting connections). I have friends who go to bigger/better/supposedly more vibrant schools that stayed in their dorms and played video games. In hindsight, I would have opted for a better school for recruitment, and I’m sure I’ll have a good time there too. Unless to retake SAT/reapply for college for better schools, taking a Gap year btw senior year and 1st college is crushing. I don’t recommend.

Most schools are offering in person classes this fall. So just go to school.

Im a sophomore in college and my brother is a graduating high school senior. I get that his senior year sucked, college really did too. If this was last year, I would say definitely don’t jump in. I know a bunch of college freshmen this year who had an absolutely horrible time. However, I believe most campuses are looking to open full swing in fall 2021. He should definitely be getting excited about being on a wonderful campus away from home!

If he is interested in WFU I would be more than happy to show him around! In choosing a school I understand how important it is to visit the campus, but there’s so many other factors to consider. Make sure he thinks about the types of people who attend the school, campus dining options (it’s important!!), the opportunities available in the university’s city, and most importantly the support he’ll receive as a student.

I wish him the best of luck!!!!

A) Visiting isn’t as important as one might think in my honest opinion. I have friends who committed to schools without visiting and people who visited and despite not being a fan of the campus they visited, still committed. What I learned by visiting was easily just as accessible online. Of course, nothing replaces physically being there but I think technology has made it a whole lot easier.

I think it’s important for your son to attend all the freshmen information events hosted by schools on his radar. Alternatively, he can ask the school for alumni connections to get a better sense of the university. If there is a specifically subject he is interested in, I would look into specialty programs at the schools. For example, if he is interested in STEM, he should look to see if the school has summer research fellowship opportunities or connections to other programs within.

B) I would jump into college as a freshman this fall. Schools across the country are planning to open up. As someone that finished the last half senior year online and went straight to the Master of Accounting program all online this year — the online learning atmosphere is not as bad as it seems. I am still learning just as much by putting in work and the professors have been very understanding and accommodating. I even managed to befriend a lot of my classmates by chatting with them outside of class and working on group projects. Since he is starting in the fall which is towards the tail end of the pandemic (in terms of the population being vaccinated), it is definitely likely he will be able to be hybrid at least if not fully in person. I don’t think it’s worth foregoing 1 year for reasons like gap year opportunities are not currently feasible due to the pandemic. Things are opening back up already, he will be in the classrooms at some point during the school year.

Most of my professors are vaccinated already and plan on in-person instruction in the fall. Things could change but with vaccinations being rolled out at its current rate, he should be back in by 2022 if not before that. Freshmen events are fun but he’ll have them for three more years to come.

If you were asking about Spring 2020 semester, I’d encourage your son to do virtual school/community college for the semester. However, most colleges will be opening at 75% + capacity and offering a more “normal” experience for Fall 2021.

I’m a junior at my college (pretty strict Covid restrictions) and I thought the freshman experience for class of 2024 was terrible. However, I know many freshman that are enjoying the semester and happy to be on campus, even with the strict restrictions.

Given the high likelihood of a more “normal” for fall 2021 semester, I’d encourage your son to attend college in person as a freshman.

As far as making a decision, it is hard without attending the college. Many schools (like mine) are offering remote recruitment events such as drop-in conversations with student ambassadors/reps. I would encourage your son to attend these events and seek as many authentic conversations as possible. While these events may not replace a real-tour, they will help your son form a better idea of the college community/culture, such as support from professor/campus activities (which I think is more important than the aesthetic of a campus.

Best of luck to your son in his decision, and I wish him the best next semester! I hope this has been helpful.

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