TUSCOLA, Ill. (WCIA) –High school seniors already felt the blow of canceled proms and postponed graduation ceremonies. With the uncertainty of COVID-19’s impact on the fall semester, many graduating high school seniors are considering taking a gap year before enrolling in college.
Brooke Ray is a senior at Tuscola High School. Like many other graduating seniors in central Illinois, she is still coping with finishing her high school experience at home. On top of that, and with the fate of the rest of her senior year decided, Ray is now trying to decide how to plan for the future when the future is unclear.
“Right now I’m leaning toward a gap year, and at this point I think that’s what I’m probably going to do, just because everything is so up in the air still,” said Ray. She planned on enrolling at Parkland this fall. However, she does not want her freshman year to start the way her senior year will end…on a computer.”As a small town girl, I think it’s cool to be able to go to a college campus and get those college experiences.” She certainly is not alone.
In fact, Parkland College administrators said they have heard many students are thinking of a gap year. The college president, Tom Ramage, said they will be here this fall and hopefully things will look more normal. “A lot of that is unknown at this point, however it’s our commitment to the community and to our students to make sure that opportunity is as close to what it was last fall as it is this coming fall,” said Ramage.
Potentially missing the full campus experience is one thing. Ray and her friends are worried if there is a resurgence of COVID-19, they will end up getting stuck alone, missing their families. “A lot of my friends are going out of state…so it’s ‘do we go?’ cause my family’s not going with me. I know we’re talking about staying with our family right now.” So, they are seriously considering putting their families first and their futures on hold.
Parkland College said if students do not want to get behind, they can enroll in general education classes online, knock those out and wait to go to a university or full 4-year college later on.