By J. Weinger
Senior year in high school used to be a time of joy and celebration. The year was filled with milestone events, from your final prom to graduation ceremonies and parties too. Time was shared with good friends who joined you in cheering for your school teams and enjoying your status as the top class. In the midst of the year, there were SAT and ACT tests to take and college applications to fill out and submit. Then, with the virus, everything changed.
For years past, and hopefully for years future, senior year was a hopeful and carefree time. The move from living at home as a teenager to going off to college as a young adult has always been filled with a feeling of exciting anticipation. The moment when you received your university acceptance letter or letters was magical and you felt your life shift to your new path. With the pandemic, new realities unfolded that have made undergraduate education decisions take on a more serious tone.
Will You Go to School Close to Home?
Going to a special college or prestigious university has long been a dream of high school students. Sometimes the goal is to attend an Ivy League school. Other times people yearn to go to a university in a new area of the country with great weather, such as Florida or the West Coast. If you have a specialized course of study, seniors often seek out a university with a renowned degree program in their future field. With the presence of the virus, though, one of the most recent trends is for prospective students to make a college decision based on how far the school is from their home. Suddenly, it doesn’t seem like the best idea for a teenager on the East coast, let’s say, to travel to Los Angeles to attend college there. Travel is risky and more and more students are finding there is great comfort in attending a school close to home.
How to Finance Your Education
Over the years, the cost of a college education has skyrocketed. High tuition rates and expensive room and board solutions make it a given that you’ll probably have to finance a good portion of your education. When you apply to a college, you’ll fill out an application for financial aid, and each university that accepts you will show you what scholarships, grants and work study programs will be available. You’ll likely have to take out student loans to pay for the rest of your annual college costs. If you intend to go off to college and need help with financing, you can use a student loan repayment calculator to quickly estimate the monthly payments associated with taking out your private student loan. By using a loan calculator, you’ll know exactly what to expect.
Choosing Between Dorms and Off-Campus Apartments
Traditionally, new students would live in campus dormitories for the first couple of years. The dorms provided a community atmosphere and were thought to help new attendees transition easily to being away from home. In today’s world, though, residence hall living may not be a wise choice at all. Dorms rooms are typically crowded and provide little room for social distancing or private space. A far better alternative at this time is to consider living in an off-campus apartment complex. If you choose this option, each student will have their own private bedroom. In addition, instead of the communal bathrooms you find in residence halls, you’ll also have your own private bath. Another plus is that you will have a kitchen that is shared by just you and a couple of roommates, so you can stay safe and not have to eat your meals in large food service cafeterias.