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is college even worth it anymore?
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hello! upcoming junior here!

the career that i intend to pursue does not require a college degree. however, college is something i have always wanted to experience. i have a genuine yearning for knowledge and would just love to attend a good school. it would also help to have that credibility to my name. the reasons i really want to go to college is for the learning, the experience, and the credibility i will earn.

but this pandemic has me asking this question: is it even worth it? before covid-19, it was already difficult enough for me to attend school and properly participate to my full ability. now it just got even harder. next year i may have to attend school online and according to collegevine, i have no chance if i don't continue or add more extra curriculars.

i'm worrying about grades, extra curriculars, and how am i even going to pay for college? i have no plan for that other than scholarships. how about the sat or act? i planned on being a national merit scholar, but this pandemic has put me in for a looooop.

it is a known fact that colleges are corrupt in many ways, especially financially. i have NO idea where my $80k tuition will be going to if i attend. colleges have been throwing out students due to the pandemic and we have no idea what the state of schooling will be in two years.

all of that is basically what i have been thinking of for the past two days. even with all this in mind, i still find myself wanting to work hard towards that goal. i just want an outside perspective from anyone. this isn't me losing hope and i'm sorry for being a downer, but seeing so many other kids worry about these same issues sparked something in me.

financial
tuition
college

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Accepted answer

Hi there! You do bring up some valid and wonderfully candid points. I definitely agree that the whole college process is quite stressful, and the addition of COVID has not made things any easier for anyone. Throughout your question you said that you always wanted to attend college, and you also planned on being a National Merit Scholar. You definitely have the motivation even if you have been caught off guard by this pandemic. Instead of seeing the current situation from a negative perspective, think about it more positively. With so much free time, perhaps you can study for some of your classes, participate in virtual programs, and even assess your interests and perhaps put your time and energy into a big project. Now I will address your questions, which are all quite valid.

- Grades: Even if you previously had problems in school with learning, it is not too late to reapply yourself. Put the time in over the summer and you won't have to worry about learning everything for the first time during the school year. You have the motivation, and I believe that if you want to fulfill a goal, you will succeed. This pandemic has all thrown us for a loop, but the best advice I have for your grades at the moment is keep them up. Even if things do end up being online, try to keep your grades up, as colleges will still take into account your grades from this upcoming year.

- EC's: Ahh yes, the dreaded extracurriculars. I must confess that I have been in a similar panic about my own extracurriculars. What are you currently doing at your school? Perhaps you could even establish your own club at your school over this quarantine. If you need any advice on how to do so, please reach out. I have also heard of virtual meetings of clubs at various schools, and perhaps you could organize some club meetings via zoom for your clubs. That will definitely set you apart. If you wanted to start a club, you should do it now, as you have ample time. Also, invest your time in a big project. Be it a community service project, creating a blog, writing a novel, or selling your artwork, pursue it. If you are in a sport, practice on your own and sharpen up some of your skills with youtube videos.

-SAT/ACT: There will still be testing this summer or next year. Even though the pandemic, my school has still set dates for our PSAT/SAT testing. I was also supposed to take an ACT this summer, but it was canceled so actual incumbent college students could take the test. If you are worried about paying for the ACT or SAT, find out if your school has testing dates for these respective tests. I've never taken them at my school so far, but I'm pretty sure that there is no cost if you take it through your school. In the same vein, the PSAT will still be going on, so do study this summer, do apply yourself to learning new material and take some practice tests. There are some online that I will link below. Good luck, and go get that National Merit title!

https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/psat-nmsqt-psat-10/practice/full-length-practice-tests

https://www.khanacademy.org/test-prep/sat/new-sat-tips-planning/new-sat-how-to-prep/a/full-length-psat-nmsqt

- Cost of college: I personally am only an incoming sophomore, so it hasn't really hit me that in a few years my class will be paying tens of thousands to go to a school. I understand where you are coming from, as I am a triplet, so my family will no doubt have to shoulder a considerable burden. College seems greatly overpriced for a system where you only attend class three times a day, but it is a valuable experience. Ever wonder why older people go back to school? Well, they have, with all of their years in the world, realized the value of education. Education is extremely valuable, especially college education. Even if you personally don't need a college education for your dream job, invest in it, as the job market is quite competitive, but in your field, having a college degree may set you apart. Yes, colleges may be corrupt, but if it is your dream to attend college, go for it. In regards to funds, you can apply for FAFSA: https://studentaid.gov/h/apply-for-aid/fafsa, as well as applying for local scholarships.

I recognize that especially because you are an incoming junior, the pressure really is on. But you sound like an intelligent, capable person, and as I stated earlier, you can achieve your goals if you put your mind to it. You have the time now, so invest yourself into something positive that you love. Please reach out if you have any further questions and I wish you best of luck!

answered on[edited]
4
votes

Hi there! So it seems to me that you are troubled between the financial burdens (and burdens due to the pandemic) in college, and your likelihood of getting excepted due to not being physically in school.

As for the pandemic, in 1-2 years it is extremely probable that there will vaccine and everything will be under control. You don't have much to worry about there.

Financially speaking, if you would like to attend a community college or a state school, tuition tends to be a lot lower. Even some competitive schools with a big $80,000 price tag are affordable due to financial aid. Try to scout out schools that guarantee "100% of financial needs met" and "no loans in your financial aid package." Some of these schools happen to be Ivies!

There will be a section on the college application to describe how covid has affected your grades, and extracurricular activities, so if that seems important to you, by all means explain your situation.

Also, there are some ways to participate in extracurriculars online! For instance, if your school has a Key Club, you can still give back to the community by offering online support and even sending gifts, emailed letters, and donations to local charities and nursing homes. You can still conduct debate team, computer science club, and even student government from home.

Good luck with the college process!

I agree and also ECs are not just school related flipping burgers at McDs is an EC so is family responsibilities such as babysitting a younger brother. Blogs YT channel are non school ECs will you get into Harvard with those likely not but can you get into a top100 school with those ECs and good gpa yes. Also college is a near necessary /highly recommended for management positions. Not so much for tradecrafts (welding plumbing etc) but even a community college degree is good for promotions.
thank you so much!