Many college and high school students are taking a different path in their higher education plans this year. The “Visiting Year” is a new phenomenon in higher education due to the pandemic. It is forcing people to make different choices.
Mathias Obert, a 2020 graduate of Quincy Notre Dame High School in Quincy, IL, plan from the start was to attend a 4-year university. Obert was ready to attend the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg, MO this fall when COVID-19 hit. “With all the craziness surrounding the pandemic it made me reevaluate my plans,” said Obert. “Now I want to stay local and help myself financially.” Obert is registered to be a freshman at John Wood Community College for the fall semester. “No matter how crazy this time is, it will all work out,” said Obert.
In this time of the coronavirus pandemic a growing number of students are looking for a safe environment that is closer to home and is affordable, and Chloe Inman is no exception. Inman’s college plans also changed.
Inman was an undergraduate at the University of Illinois at Springfield, IL, studying Computer Science. As a 2019 freshman last year in her second semester she decided to apply and was accepted at the Disney’s College Program in Orlando, Florida. “I moved to Florida and loved the program. I was a Character Attendant, plus I was also taking online colleges courses.” Then, like many, Inman lost her job. Disney shut down due to the pandemic. “The Disney Parks closed, and they sent us all home,” said Inman. “I had made so many new friends from around the world, it was just sad.”
Inman was at crossroads and then decided to attend JWCC for this fall’s semester. “JWCC is the best place for me now with much more flexibility,” shared Inman. “I feel safer and I am going to save a lot of money.”
Whether it is a “Visiting Year” as a college student or possibly an adult that might have been displaced or left unemployed due to the pandemic and are looking for new career training – now more than ever people are considering community colleges for their future.