Are we (Class of 2021) all going to get screwed over?

I’ve been reading up on the Coronavirus a lot for lack of much else to do, and one theme that has been recurring is how this will affect high school seniors and their college decisions. What does this mean for the Class of 2021? It would be rational to expect lots of students, especially international ones, to take a gap year due to Coronavirus concerns. By my reckoning, this in turn means that there will be less spaces in the University of Pennsylvania’s graduating Class of 2025. As someone who is self-judged to be on the bubble, I’m extremely worried that, in a worst case scenario, 15-25% of next year’s admissions are self-deferred current seniors, leaving the rest of us to fight over much fewer spots. Would someone with more experience to draw upon tell me if I’m on base?

I don’t think that many will defer, certainly not 15-25%.

Just going on gut instinct here, no hard data.

UPenn will not likely allow 15-25% TO DEFER, it would mess up things for a while , housing when everyone comes back, class size … Not sure if Penn has stated a policy on 2020 gap years, but your number is way too high. In any given year it is very very hard to get into Penn even if you have the stats, now one could argue the class of 2021 will have it easier , if and this a big IF, they are full pay, schools will be hurting, even Penn so a full pay kid is mighty tempting if they are a borderline app.

Don’t worry about things you can’t control. Present the best apps you can and use a balanced, realistic list of colleges you genuinely like. You’ll be fine wherever you land. Remember that colleges are businesses.

S is part of the class of 2024. The Penn portal gives them until June 5 to declare a gap year. Students can also request a leave of absence right through to the first few weeks of a semester. LOA requires paperwork and approval. The Provost has not changed the LOA policy (at least not at this time). Moreover, the Dean of Admissions has emailed international students specifically reminding them that a gap year is an option. I think it’s reasonable to assume a higher gap year rate this year, particularly among international students who may not be able to travel or obtain visas.

Penn Abroad says that each year about 50 students out the the entire undergraduate enrollment (all four classes) take a gap year for various reasons. 50/10000 undergrads is 0.05%. Jumping to 25% sounds high. The class of 2023 had 13% international students from 78 countries. If 2024 is similar, and all internationals couldn’t attend, that would be 312 students (assuming a class of 2400) from the incoming freshmen class alone.

All that notwithstanding, my S sure doesn’t plan to sit around for year. I suspect the vast majority of the class feels the same way.

Yes, at some schools. It looks to me like it’s going to be a tough year for your class, because, yes, kids are taking gap years in Unprecedented numbers at some schools. However, some schools are going to need to crank it up as accept more than the usual number of kids. So, it will depend upon your situation and the schools on your list.

My guess is this will be not great for 2021’s in general, but for internationals in particular. Lots of internationals are going to be taking a forced gap year, due to lack of ability to get a visa. I don’t see schools doubling up on their international students next year. At places like Macalester and MHC that would put them over 50% international.

Yep, but the internationals will look mighty attractive as most are full pay. Sadly, even a slight change in numbers has huge impacts. Hopefully, there is enough $ to go around and kids will get into the same relative schools as they would have pre-Corona.

This is being discussed in another thread:
https://talk.collegeconfidential.com/discussion/comment/22902311#Comment_22902311

Yes, you could get “screwed over”. However, the poor economy and belt-tightening in the financial aid department could shut a lot of kids out of pricey four-year colleges too. Also, it might not be a deferred student who (theoretically) unseats you, but a test optional applicant with super grades but a less stellar SAT score. Bottom line is the tippy tops are still going to be very hard to get into, but if you can pay (or are willing to assume a lot of debt) there will be a seat for you somewhere.

Focus on what you can control, not what you can’t. Strive to be the best version of yourself. Put forth the best application you can, and trust that where you attend college is not going to stop you from pursuing the career you want.

Yep, Tippy tops are always both hard to get into and a bit of a lottery. Too many qualified candidates. Doesn’t matter why, the results are the same for many, a rejection.

The data I have seen suggests that there will be some deferral, but not nearly the supposed 20% that has been bandied around. It is likely to be somewhere around 10%.

The thing that people seem to forget is that, as much as students want to enjoy the “college experience”, for kid at the age of 18-19, a year is a very large unit of time, and they really want to finish college and get on with their lives. Moreover, unless somebody is from a very wealthy family, taking a year off without working is financially difficult, and jobs are not that common nowadays.

Even for most of the wealthier students, the thought of doing nothing at all for a year isn’t attractive, either, and most wealthy parents are not enthralled with the idea of their kid hanging around doing nothing for a year.

I would guess that many of the 10% or so who are taking a gap year are working on political campaigns, If this weren’t an election year, I think that even fewer would be taking gap years.

In any case, if you are looking at a college which only accepts 8% of its applicants, accepting 10% fewer means that the acceptance rate would be 10% lower. Acceptance rates have been dropping faster than that each year just because there are that many more applicants.

I also think that many colleges will be accepting larger numbers next year to make up for enrollment shortfall this year. Many will be able to do so, since having a sophomore year which is 10% smaller than previous years means that there is that much more room in residence halls, in classes which are shared with first-years, etc.

So I don’t think that it will make that much of a difference.

I will be wishing that ED would not be affected, but it is possible that RD will be affected…