Mapping Your Future: Junior year, interrupted. . .



COVID-19 information and resources
StudentAidPandemic.org

Newsroom

Junior year, interrupted. . .

By Catherine Mueller

August 06, 2020

. . . and getting back on track during the senior year.

The usual nervous excitement about back-to-school will likely be tinged this year with some uncertainty – especially for high school seniors.  Those students, who had their junior year interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, may be feeling somewhat behind when it comes to planning for college.

However, it’s important for this year's seniors to move forward with their plans and not let the pandemic hold them back. Although the pandemic hit during their junior year when many would have been scheduling campus visits, preparing for entrance exams, and applying for scholarships, this year’s seniors can still take the steps needed to  prepare for life after high school.

Following are some of the possible challenges and how to address them:

  • Plans for life after high school. The pandemic has caused some students to question the future and whether they should continue to pursue education beyond high school. In addition, some students may be questioning future careers, college choices, and their ability to afford college right now. While the answers to the questions will depend on a student’s specific situation, students should keep their options open and plan for their academic future – despite the pandemic.  A lot can change in a year (as we've seen in 2020!) and planning now for education beyond high school keeps that option open for students.
  • Choosing a college and campus visits. Students who couldn't do campus visits last spring may still need to narrow down their list of potential postsecondary schools or colleges. If the student hasn’t been able to visit the institutions they are interested in attending, some institutions are resuming campus tours with safety restrictions in place. Students can also replace the in-person campus visits with the virtual tours on the institution websites.
  • College and financial aid applications. Incoming seniors are still in good shape when it comes to applying for college and completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Students can complete the FAFSA as soon as possible after Oct. 1 and complete admissions applications this fall.
  • Scholarship applications. There are many scholarship opportunities for students in their senior year. The important step students should take now is to research scholarships, determine if they meet the eligibility requirements and make note of the deadline to submit all the paperwork.
  • Missed opportunities for extracurricular or leadership roles. Granted, extracurricular activities and leadership in high school helps position a student for success beyond high school. Some of those opportunities may have been eliminated due to the pandemic. If so, look for other opportunities to replace what was missed, such as volunteer work or virtual participation in an organization.

For this year’s seniors, it’s important to remember that you are not alone. Not only are your classmates in the same situation, but there are counselors and other resources available to help you plan your future – despite the pandemic. Talk to the counselor in your school or contact Mapping Your Future at feedback@mappingyourfuture.org or 1-800-374-4072.