As COVID-19 grinds society to a halt and shutters physical college campuses, today’s high school and college students are experiencing their generation’s crucible.
With uncertainty about whether campuses will open in the fall and the finances of many families and colleges in tatters, significant numbers of students will likely change plans and take a year off or attend college closer to home. In one survey, just 20 percent of students said they are confident they will be able to attend their first-choice school. Roughly 12 percent said they are considering taking a gap year or enrolling part-time.
As students reconsider their college choices and see their dreams dashed by the inability to pay or enroll, they should reframe a gap year or part-time enrollment not as a year off, but as a year on purpose. Rather than see it as a step backward, it’s an opportunity to take a “discovery year” to learn about themselves—what are their passions, what do they dislike, and how can they best contribute to the world?