Many incoming college students consider taking a gap year during COVID-19 crisis

Some rising college freshmen may be considering a gap year as the COVID-19 pandemic has left uncertainly with how the college experience will look by the fall semester.

Kyra Kushner, 17, had her future mapped out. She was the top of her high school class in San Francisco, and she was accepted early decision at Wesleyan.

Then the coronavirus pandemic hit.

"Is it worth it for me to go to college? Because you know they're charging thousand upon thousands of dollars and I'm not getting even half the experience," Kushner said.

Wesleyan, like many colleges, doesn't yet know if they'll reopen the campus next fall. It might be a year of distance learning.



Not only does Kushner get robbed of her senior spring, but she may not get the freshman fall as she had imagined.

"Yeah. It's scary," Kushner said. "Just trying to make the best of it?"

No dorms. No dining halls. No college classmates to bond with and learn from.

It's just not the same in a Zoom room, where many students are spending time in video conference seminars.

"It just seems not even comparable to what a good college experience would be," Kushner said.

With enrollment decisions due at many schools May 1, guidance counselors are seeing a surge of interest in gap years. As many as one in six graduating seniors are giving it serious thought.

For Rachel Lott and her parents, cost is a major factor, especially now.

"What's really unappealing to me of the idea of paying for college and doing all of that school work when I'm not able to connect face to face with the people that are teaching me and the people that I'm working with," she said.
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