College students today face many obstacles, one of which is taking online classes for almost an entire year due to COVID-19. Since I work for my university's admissions office by recruiting prospective freshmen remotely, here are five pieces of advice I have for high school seniors right now:
1. Go to community college remotely
If the university you want to attend will make you spend your freshman year online and pay a hefty price for it, don't do it. It's not worth the money. Just get your general education requirements out of the way at a community college and save money. You won't get the right college experience right now anyway, and you'll thank yourself later when you have fewer student loans to take out.
2. If you are given the chance, live on campus
I know my college, Ohio University, has allowed all students to live on campus and use all the facilities offered as well, whether their courses are all online or not. So, even if your classes don't meet in person, move into your dorm! It is so much better than living at home and will give you the (somewhat unusual) college experience you've been looking forward to for so long. You can still go to the gym, the library, your academic building, dining halls, etc., and make plenty of new friends.
3. Expensive big-name schools are not worth the price
If you have to pay $50,000 a year to take courses online because they're a popular, big-name school, it is NOT worth it. Chances are, you can get the same quality of education through a cheaper school or community college for a cost half as cheap. Because a lot of those hefty fees are put towards running campus buildings that you won't have access to, and that is just robbery.
4. Take in-person classes if they're offered to you
If you're missing out on school right now and your university offers you, in-person classes, take them! So many of us would do ANYTHING to be back in a classroom. Take advantage of that opportunity to help you get the hang of real college, not virtual reality (because the two are very different).
5. Remember that you're not alone.
If you feel like you've lost a lot, from Friday night lights to senior prom and graduation, know that there are SO many other students in your exact shoes. It's okay to be sad, angry, and disappointed, so reach out to your peers! Chances are, they're feeling the same way.
This past year has been absolutely crazy, so if you're feeling a little out of place (or even a lot), join the club! But make sure to choose wisely when it comes to your education, as it plays a huge role in the next part of your adult life. Picking a college is hard, especially virtually, so props to all of you who have found your home for the next four years right now! Things will get so much better, I promise. These are the best years of your life.