I hear a lot about people being offered admission to competitive schools, but with a January start date, and the option of doing a semester abroad first in an affiliated program. It gives the person the opportunity to attend the college they want, but they miss out on that incredible September freshman year experience, which is when everyone else is making all their new friends.
Are schools offering this because they expect to have more dorm space available due to juniors taking their spring semester abroad? Or is it because freshmen are leaving after one semester? The thing is, I only knew or heard of one person who left my Ivy early during my freshman year, over 40 years ago, due to severe mental illness, and I cannot even recall if he left before January. Meanwhile, I and other MD friends of mine who deal with teens and young adults have seen many young people who returned home after one semester. Some didn’t even make it through the first semester. It seems that they were just unable to leave home. Virtually always, these were young people who had never gone to sleep away camp, or any other “away” experience. They’re not suffering from severe mental illness. It seems more that they just can’t hack being away from home.
There most definitely are advantages to living at home for college. Cheaper, usually own bedroom, access to a car, better food, quieter. But the negative impact upon a young person’s social life and nascent independence cannot be denied. I don’t recall knowing anyone at college who was “homesick”. It seemed that everyone was so happy to be able to run their own lives at college.
For so many competitive schools to be offering this, something must have changed. Is it that more freshmen are leaving after one semester?