Countdown on for parents and students entering college

Will seniors choose to attend college remotely or will more students opt for a gap year instead?
3:43 | 04/25/20

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Transcript for Countdown on for parents and students entering college
the uncertainty facing thousands of college students across the country. Wondering how they'll be attending classes. That's why some incoming freshmen may be considering a gap year. ABC's David Wright has more. Reporter: 17-year-old Kyra Kushner had her future mapped out. Top of her high school class in San Francisco, she was accepted early decision at wesleyan. Then coronavirus hit. Is it worth it for me to go to college? They're charging like thousands upon thousands of dollars and I'm not getting even half the experience. Reporter: Wesleyan doesn't yet know if they'll re-open the campus next fall. It might be a year of distance learning. Not only are you kind of robbed of your senior spring, you may not get your freshman fall as you imagined. It's scary. I'm trying to make the best of it. Reporter: No dorms, no dining halls. No college classmates to bond with and learn from. It's just not the same in a zoom room. It just seems like not even comparable to what a good college experience should be. Reporter: With enrollment decisions due at many schools may 1st. Guidance counselors are seeing a surge in interest in gap years. As many as one in six graduating seniors giving it serious thought. Among them Ben Davidoff in los Angeles. Georgetown and u.c.-berkeley are probably tied up at the top and still trying to figure out between those two schools and taking a gap year is just right below it. Rather than being inside a classroom environment a gap year is about career exploration, gaining practical skills and personal growth. Reporter: For Rachel Lott and her parents, cost is a major factor. Especially now. It's really unappealing to me, the idea of paying for college and doing all of that schoolwork when I'm not able to connect face-to-face with the people that are teaching me and the people I'm working with. Reporter: David Wright, ABC news, New York. And joining us this morning from home is parenting expert Rachel Simmons. Thanks for getting up with us. First, let's dive into this. Is there really a -- is this really a realistic option for all students, or just ones with well to do parents. Do you need to have money to be able to do this kind of gap year? Yes, so I spoke with j2 guides and what they said was a gap year has always been about two things, one, helping your student figure out what really matters to them and, two, having them make some type of valuable contribution to society. So a kid can still have a part-time job and do those things. And, in fact, if you think about it we've never really had a moment in this generation's life when they could make a bigger impact on the world. So this could be a real opportunity for individuals who want to take a gap year. So what kinds of things should parents and students think about when considering a gap year? Well, I think the main thing you want to think about is are you really prepared to step away and press pause on college? And one of the ways to help your student think about that is what is it that they're interested in college for? Did they want college for the campus experience or were they really interested in pursuing the degree? If it's about taking those classes, colleges are doing a great job trying to create those online experiences. But if your student really wanted to be with other people and be on campus and have those traditions, it might be time for them to press pause and just think about a way that they can be useful to their own community right now. Rachel Simmons, thank you so much. Something a lot of students are considering. Those high school seniors, you feel for them. These are really hard choices they have to make. Yeah, and they're not going to be choices that they make lightly, I'm sure.

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