Congratulations to the Class of 2020! You did it! I am sure that this senior year was not what you expected for your last semester in high school and there may be some unknown waters ahead, such as your postsecondary education plans. A lot is in the air, and one option I hear in the news and with my colleagues is deferring your enrollment. I am hoping that this blog post helps you explore some of your deferment options.
So what is Deferred Enrollment?
Deferring your enrollment means you plan to take off a semester or longer before you start taking classes. Prior to COVID-19, people sought deferment for a wide variety of reasons: medical, financial, wanting to travel, uncertain about career path or major, so this isn’t new just because of COVID-19. But, with the uncertainty ahead, I could see many students choosing to defer their enrollment due to changes in course delivery options (online vs in person), financial hardships with parents or guardians, loss of income, or even needing to take a year just for your wellbeing.
How Can I Defer My Enrollment?
If you choose to defer your enrollment, you are responsible for talking to your institution's admissions office. Every institution is different with the process, forms, or documents needed, but many of those are found on the institution's website. The form itself may be called “deferment” or “postponement,” but if you are struggling to find it, don’t worry, just call the admissions office.
Should I Defer My Enrollment?
If I could peer into a crystal ball and know what the future held, you would find me on the next flight to Las Vegas or to the nearest lottery ticket seller. I can’t tell you if you should or shouldn’t defer, however, here are some important questions to consider before making your decision:
- Dates & deadlines
- Is there a deadline for your institution’s deferment application?
- What length of time can you defer? Months? Semester? Years?
- Are there costs associated with deferment?
- Do you get application fees pushed back?
- Does your institution's award package stay the same for next year?
- What are the effects on local, state, or national scholarships? Will they allow you to defer?
- Can you get your fees or housing deposits back, and what is the appeals process for that?
- How do you feel about taking all your classes online?
- How do you feel about taking your classes in person with social distancing requirements?
- Are the same number of academic resources such as tutoring, library access, and teaching assistance exist?
- Campus Life:
- Are you okay with an adjusted campus experience? Potentially less group gatherings around athletics, Greek life, and more?
- Will you be communicating more over the phone or email rather than in person with faculty and staff?
- What is your plan while you defer?
- Do you plan to get a job, travel, volunteer?
- What are your plans for taking care of your wellbeing and mental health?
- How will you continue to learn to maintain your current knowledge level?
- Starting back:
- Are there any documents needed?
- Which steps were grandfathered in and which ones will you have to redo?
As our nation, state, and postsecondary institutions are opening back with different timelines and deadlines, contacting your institution is going to be step number one, regardless if it's admissions, housing, or academics. Continue to talk with your parents/guardians, friends, family members, teachers, counselors, or coaches. Ask them for their advice and what they would do, as it will hopefully paint a picture of the best way for you to move forward.
If you need any assistance with navigating the college process and/or developing a plan for your postsecondary endeavors, contact the ACPE Success Center for free assistance!