Students' college choices mirror movement toward normalcy after pandemic

The Temple University campus.
The Temple University campus. Photo credit Holli Stephens/KYW Newsradio

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Many students are optimistic college life will be close to normal in the fall, and their college choices have begun to reflect that.

For the 2020-2021 academic year, many students chose to take a year off or chose colleges and universities closer to home.

That's not the case for as many students entering college this fall.

“This year, it’s all about the most prestigious college you got into and that’s where they’re headed, even if it is a more expensive path for them," said Application Nation Founder Sara Harberson.

"A student gets into a college that they view as prestigious or elite or highly selective, (and) that’s where they’re going. Last year we didn’t see that as much. Students and parents were frankly very nervous about travel, about committing to an institution farther away or more expensive.”

She said the COVID-19 pandemic doesn't seem to be influencing student decisions on what school to attend.

“I think part of that is because many colleges have announced that they will have completely open campuses and a full student body back on campus by the fall," Harberson added.

Harberson said she still sees a number of students staying local with an honors program.

"The honors programs at those state and public universities have never looked better, even though we’re going to see a lot of students heading to their top choice they got admitted to or the most selective college they got admitted to," she said.

"I’m finding so much interest among the families that I work with that are looking at those honors programs because they are a good bang for your buck.”

May 1 was the deadline for students to commit to a college.

Featured Image Photo Credit: Holli Stephens/KYW Newsradio