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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Should I go to college? Class of '23 worries about costs, feels less prepared

The Class of '23 missed the last part of ninth grade, and many missed chunks of 10th and 11th grade as well. Forty-two percent say they've changed their career or college plans because of the pandemic, according an ACT report. Students from lower-income families were more likely to say they'd changed their plans and were questioning whether they should go to college.


Students who'd seen their families struggle financially said they were worried about paying for college and considering less-expensive options.


Others said they weren't sure they were prepared..


“Before the pandemic I always looked towards college and furthering my academics, but once the pandemic hit it altered the way I looked at college. It made me struggle in my high school years and made me doubt whether or not college was the best choice down the road,” one Latino student said.


Some said they'd been overwhelmed by anxiety, depression and loneliness. “The pandemic really unmotivated me with being successful," said one student.


“The pandemic made me reconsider where I want to be in life and in the future," another said. "I felt lost.”


On the plus side, some students said they learned more about their own interests and were considering new career fields as a result.

8 Comments


Guest
Jun 09, 2023

I think a LOT of high school "graduates" should be thinking about trade school -- welding, HVAC maintenance, plumbing, electrician, etc. There is good money to be made and it's a LOT cheaper than college. Even better, the AI revolution isn't going to upset people who work with their hands. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised to see the trades going up in both salary and status as time goes on.

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Guest
Jun 10, 2023
Replying to

This seems to be a conventional wisdom said by people whose children never go into the trades. If one pays attention, most of the trades have become integrated where the same marking and back office company hires the HVAC, Plumbers, electricians, etc. But the tradesmen are still independent contractors who only get paid if they work.

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Guest
Jun 09, 2023

In times past, people learned from the abuse heaped on them by the "authorities" in times of trial. Maybe these kids had their eyes open and won't just go to college because it is expected. And they are entering at a dangerous time. Colleges aren't going to change, but their value (outside of STEM) will decline precipitously as AI is now a much better mimic of the professor.


"Colleges really are big pet cemeteries, aren't they?" said Kyle. "You send people there, and they come back wrong."

--Danielle's Passion, Tired Moderate, 2023


But, I want to go to the other end of the spectrum, which is intellectual services. It used to be, if you wave your Bachelor's degree, you're going…

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Guest
Jun 09, 2023
Replying to

They got their degrees on time, but never got the ceremony. That was held a year late. This is SoCal, where schools weren't in person for a very, very long time. (It was also a private school.)


Ann in L.A.

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Guest
Jun 08, 2023

1) They are unprepared and the should be worrying about the cost.


2) When people think the government will support them at a good-enough level for the rest of their lives, as it did during covid, there is diminished drive to go out and work for something more. Government subsidies killed the work ethic in many of these kids.


3) Mike Rowe among others is showing the way to viable, non-college alternatives.


4) The levels of mental illness--high anxiety and depression--are high in this group, exacerbated again by the lockdowns and isolation, and will make their early adult lives very difficult.


Ann in L.A.

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Guest
Jun 08, 2023

I wonder how many of them are not prepared because they cheated their way through Zoom school and had standards lowered when they returned in person.

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