College: Is It Worth It?

For a lot of Whitney Young students, college is at the forefront of their minds. Is it worth it? Can I afford it? Where should I go? All of these questions, though they’ve always been important, have become even more pertinent. Covid-19 has thrown a wrench into the plans for 2020 for most people in the world, school being one of the most impactful. This has made the decision-making process for colleges even more difficult.

According to an estimate from NPR, only about 20% of colleges are fully in person, with about 16% offering a mix of in-person and online courses. Schools such as Harvard are keeping their room and board cost the same, despite switching to complete online courses for the fall semester. With a study from SimpsonScarborough conducted in August of 2020 saying about 40% of incoming freshmen will be choosing to stay home and take classes remotely, the question still remains: is going out of  it worth it?

A lot of incoming freshmen from Chicago are deciding to stay in the city for school. Ari Karafiol, ‘20 graduate from Whitney Young andnow a freshman at SAIC said, “… I do feel like especially during a pandemic, I feel a lot of security being in the city. I know the resources and people here, so they’re much easier to access. I also don’t have to navigate learning my way around a whole new city and can instead just focus on school, and can tap into the connections in the art world I’ve already built here.” Chloe Phoenix, a graduate from MPA and a freshman at Roosevelt, gave some good advice for seniors, saying, “I definitely had the option to attend a college out of state but I chose not to go because of COVID and security issues I was afraid of. I would say to follow your heart.”

Similarly, seniors around Chicago are stressing over college choices. I asked a few them their preferences for school. Fiona Lyons-Carlson, ‘21 a senior at Whitney Young, said, “I’d prefer to go to school out of state so I can develop my independence. For my major, environmental science, it would be nice to be somewhere geographically different than Illinois. I’d like to go in person since it would be easier to make friends that way, but considering our compromised situation right now, online would definitely be a safer option.” Amalia Pappa ‘21 a senior at Walter Payton, commented,  “I would rather go to school in-state and be in person. If there were an outbreak on campus it would nice to be able to get home quickly and affordably, especially considering the safety of airplanes.”

At the end of the day, the choice is yours. Gauging your personal needs academically and financially is the only way to decide. Remember, this is your future. Take control.