MCTC a Better Personal Choice than Gap Year in These Times
June 1, 2020
A commentary by Keith Kappes
In normal times, brand new high school graduates are busy this time of year with plans for college.
Locally, they and their parents would be trying to choose between Maysville Community and Technical College and a public or private university.
But these definitely are not “normal” times.
The worldwide coronavirus pandemic and its devastating impact on the U. S. economy have changed our lives, perhaps forever. Without question, we are living in uncertain times.
Even before this public health emergency, national studies were predicting another increase this fall in the number of current or prospective college students who had decided to opt out of college for a so-called “gap year”.
That supposedly is time to work or travel or “hang out” while you carefully decide the future course of your life. As a 10-year undergraduate, I did that several times out of financial necessity.
So, what are the “gap year” options in today’s reality?
With more than 30 million Americans already out of work, finding a job worth your time surely will be a greater challenge.
Exciting trips to other parts of the world likely will be less appealing because of public health concerns. Moreover, the costs of traveling are expected to be higher as the travel industry tries to recover from disastrous bookings in the worldwide lockdown.
Declining admissions applications at all types of U. S. colleges and universities this fall clearly indicate that families have serious concerns, financial and otherwise, about sending their daughters and sons to college.
Privately, many of those families also say they are especially worried about the health risks of group living and social interactions that traditionally characterize college life.
This economic downturn no doubt means a rise in homelessness and food insecurity for families when breadwinners lose their jobs or when unemployment benefits go away.
In my opinion, these current and potential negatives about “gap year” realities in 2020 should convince new high school graduates in this area to consider the following:
1. Continuing to live in a safe, healthy environment at home.
2. Avoiding the waste of a year by enrolling in a low cost, high quality, fully accredited institution with multiple distance learning options.
3. Eliminating out-of-pocket room-and-board costs by living at home.
4. Remaining available to help with family responsibilities such as childcare, housekeeping, farming, helping run a family business or as a respite caregiver for a disabled person.
Regardless of where you live in Northeast or North Central Kentucky, the obvious solution to your “gap year” dilemma is to enroll at MCTC. We have campuses in Cynthiana, Maysville, Morehead, and Mt. Sterling.
(Opinions expressed in this commentary are those of Keith Kappes, community relations liaison at Maysville Community and Technical College. Contact him at email@example.com)