(NBC News) As coronavirus spread across the country, colleges and universities spent months contemplating how they should open to students in the fall.
Within days of students moving back on campus, dozens of colleges and universities reversed course, moving most, if not all, classes online.
“We’re in unprecedented times here,” says Arun Ponnusamy of Collegewise. “I think every student family needs to sit down and not panic.”
He says it’s important to recognize decisions made now may impact a student’s future, possibly for years to come.
The debate over paying tuition for an online experience has reached a fevered pitch, with many students opting out for a gap year or making some extra cash.
“They start making a little bit of money and, you know…they may never find their way back to these college goals,” Ponnusamy warns.
Ponnusammy says students struggling with the change to their plans need to look at the big picture.
“The same reasons they were admitted to these colleges, because they’re creative kids, because they’re resilient, they’ll be able to apply those same skill sets in that online or hybrid version,” he says.
Experts say kids with fewer resources debating college this fall may have the most to lose.
“If they don’t start college this fall, the likelihood of them reengaging is a lot lower,” Ponnusamy says. “Those kids may never find their way back into college.”
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