Dear class of 2020,
You’ve been on my mind a lot lately.
(And just to be clear, I’m in the camp that believes people posting their senior pictures on Facebook probably doesn’t soften the blow of you missing your final experiences at school. No matter how well-meaning the gesture.)
But we can’t get away from the fact that you as high school seniors and college students are being impacted heavily by this. (And everyone on Facebook is doing their best to help.)
Instead of taking to social media, I took some time this week to study the info floating around about higher education. And I’ve tried to break it down from abstract news to actionable ideas for your life.
So here’s the low-down. 👇
87% of colleges are expecting a decrease in enrollment.
There were certainly challenges in higher ed before the coronavirus, and the pandemic has only made those challenges more noticeable. In addition, most colleges no longer offer in-person tours (something that highly impacts new student decisions.) And as overall fearfulness about the future grips the world, many people don’t want to make a multi-year, high-cost choice like college.
67% of college students are unsure they can finish their current college term.
The challenges associated with the economic decline we’ve seen mean that some students may be relied on by their families for income. Others may not even have the money they need for deposits, let alone what it takes to afford the cost of living during college.
69% of students say the coronavirus will affect their higher education finances.
Financial stability is a huge question for many students as 401K and 529 plans plummet and many lose their jobs. Many students will probably forego applying to their favorite college and opt for a lower-cost option.
Falling enrollment rates may increase your chances of getting into your dream college.
Forbes calls this the “coronavirus silver lining.” From the impact of applications decreasing to the certainty of less international students, schools will potentially accept more students on their waitlists.
The change in the way colleges function may actually have a positive impact.
Think about it—everything else is online, and now education has been forced to reform its system to include more online learning options. The potential is high for this to open new avenues of learning, offering more affordable and more accessible opportunities for students!
Online education is full of opportunity.
Regardless of what happens with traditional higher education, more and more innovators are arising in the ed-tech space. There are hundreds of online tools available for both students and educators. Practically anything you need to successfully study online is already at your fingertips!
What does this mean for you?
One of the biggest changes is to the way many of us think about our futures. We’ve all been hit by a dose of reality: our best plans can change in a matter of weeks. So how can we possibly plan for 5-10 years in the future?
In light of this, here are a couple things you can do to build a great career regardless of pandemic, recession, or higher ed crisis:
1. Invest in recession-proof skills. Now more than ever, there’s a demand for young, talented professionals with skills that will adapt to any environment. A couple examples of skills like these that are always in demand are sales, copywriting, and content curation. Focus on learning these skills now, while you’re waiting on the verdict for the fall semester of school! I wrote about this in a previous newsletter in more detail.
2. Take a year completing some courses online. Take a gap year and postpone your college decision until later! Until then, Platforms like Coursera and Udemy offer affordable courses in almost any subject. (Even Youtube has great video courses on almost anything you want to learn!) Then take your skills a step further and create a project that showcases the skills you’ve built.
3. Take some time to work. If you’re sitting at home right now wondering what to do for the summer, I’d suggest going out and getting some work experience. Companies like Amazon and Walmart as well as other tech companies and grocery stores are still hiring. The advantage to working is that you’ll be making money while everything is uncertain.
4. Look into higher education alternatives. If you’re unable to pay for college, or if you’ve lost confidence entirely in the higher education system, consider trying an online bootcamp or another college alternative. Praxis exists for business careers. Lambda School for tech-related careers. And there are so many other programs out there, too.
In short, now’s not the time to mourn higher ed. It’s time to start building your career from the ground up!
Even though the future looks grim for higher education as a whole, it doesn’t have to be grim for you as an individual.
And my team and I want to help. Which is why we’re offering to jump on a quick, 15-minute call to help you navigate your next steps. Have questions? Just need some encouragement? Schedule a call with our team here!