Students use gap year to avoid online school By Kaden Brastow A fter struggling through online school for most of their second semester, the prospect of more virtual learning can be unappealing decided to to graduating seniors, causing many to reconsider their plans for the upcoming academic year. Some students defer admission and take a gap year, a simple solution to the stress of online learning. Generally taken as a break from school or as an opportunity for self-discovery before entering adulthood, deferral in 2020 offers an opportunity to wait out the pandemic and resume college in person one or two semesters down the road. “I was weighing the pros and cons and just decided late one night that there’s no way I could possibly do the first part of college online,” Drake senior Marina McPhail said, who will be attending Georgetown University but is deferring admission until next year. She said she had always thought a gap year could be cool but never seriously considered it until now. “I realized I was so excited for my school that there was no way I could validate to myself missing even one semester,” said McPhail. Julia Pelletier, another Drake Senior, ultimately decided to defer because of what she would be missing out on in her first semester. “I decided to go to Michigan in part the culture because of and how vibrant life on campus is, and I was going to be paying way too much money for out of state tuition to lose all of that and do work online [therefore] losing the chance to work “I realized I was so excited for my school that there was no way I could validate to myself missing even one semester,” with some world-class professors and get the full college education experience.” She said it was difficult to let go of “the notion that I was going to school in the fall,” but that she made the decision anyway. Most schools are still waiting to see what the state of the pandemic will permit as the fall semester approaches, but not all of them traditionally accept deferrals. For example, The University of California system usually has a no deferral policy. They are now taking in requests on a case by case basis, so one can’t simply defer until next semester or year without a good reason. There is also an incentive for schools not to accept deferral requests. Many schools c om pe nsa t e d students because of their inability to provide room and board during the pandemic. This is not to mention massive financial losses caused by the economy’s downturn. If schools allow their 2020 freshman class to shrink too much, their revenue could dive, causing even more problems like widespread cuts and higher tuition. For better or worse, pandemicrelated deferrals could have a massive impact on colleges and their class of 2024. 2

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