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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Burned out at 18

More than a third of teenagers have changed their pre-pandemic college plans according to a recent EdChoice survey, report John Kristof and Colyn Ritter on The 74. There was a 14 percent drop in plans to enroll at a four-year college or university compared to before the pandemic.

Only 8 percent said Covid-19 changed their plans. Twenty-eight percent said they'd learned about other options or shifted their interests, and another 28 percent cited the cost of college and other financial factors. "Nearly one in five (19%) pointed to mental health issues or other indicators that they currently couldn’t handle the burden of being a college student," write Kristof and Ritter.

Non-elite colleges, already struggling to fill their seats before the pandemic, can't count on a rebound, they write. "Better financial packages will mean little to students who feel burned out and unprepared for the next stage of life at the ripe old age of 18."

One-third of college students pursuing a bachelor's degree have considered "stopping out," reported a Gallup survey in May. The most common reason is emotional stress, way up since 2020. Covid-19, cost of attendance and coursework difficulty were the three next-most-often reported reasons, but Covid is falling in importance compared to 2020, while coursework difficulty is up significantly.

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