Finalize higher-ed fall plans now

Dennis Kelly - Contributing columnist

Ohio high schools are closed for the foreseeable future and colleges and universities are transitioning into completing their spring semesters online, thus ensuring their students the continuity of their academic programs and seniors an opportunity to graduate on time.

The COVID-19 pandemic is adversely affecting all segments of American society and our local schools and institutions of higher education are no exception.

This hiatus from high school gives college-bound students an opportunity to finalize decisions for fall 2020. The luxury of time is quickly running out and ramifications of COVID-19 make business-as-usual something we likely won’t experience for weeks in a best-case scenario.

What I’m saying is that finalizing your decision to enroll in college this fall is a NOW decision. High school seniors and community college transfer students planning to transition to a four-year school should not delay.

There’s much uncertainty in the air. Will your high school or community college need to extend its term into June? Will the colleges and universities in which you’ve expressed an interest be able to fully staff the many aspects of the student recruitment and financial aid processes when additional help may be required to assist current students during this new normal?

Colleges may need additional time and resources in order to fully process their prospective students.

Have the top colleges on your list provided you with an acceptance letter? If so, they will undoubtedly work with you should your current school continue classes past the original end of the term. Have you completed your financial aid form, the FAFSA, and have colleges provided you with an award letter? Even better are those colleges that have responded to your appeal for additional funds and have granted your request.

Seriously, if all this is in order, you should be ready to make a decision.

Contact your admission counselor and enter into a contact agreement. During the height of the pandemic, it might not make sense for you to meet them face-to-face; however, they are available to work with you via, email, text, Skype or cell phone.

My professional advice is to select the college best meets these criteria: is the best fit, has provided you with the best customer service and has established a superior relationship with you and your family.

Wilmington College can be that College for local students who seek a community environment. WC offers students opportunities for hands-on learning and leadership development, NCAA Division III athletics and a rich, comprehensive educational experience at a value cost.

Plus, we’re in your own backyard!

Dennis Kelly is senior vice president/chief enrollment officer at Wilmington College. A nationally known enrollment administrator, he has consulted and presented extensively on higher education and post-graduation career choices.

Dennis Kelly

Contributing columnist