40 Percent of Incoming Freshman Are Likely To Take A Gap Year - Don’t let this be you.

Nervous Freshmen, Nervous Colleges Pros and Cons of taking a GAP year.

Colleges that have been struggling to get their yield rate equivalent (or at least close) to last year's may be in for a rude awakening.

SimpsonScarborough is releasing a survey of incoming freshmen who aspired to attend a four-year residential college that finds that 40 percent of them say they are likely or highly likely to not attend any four-year college this fall. Further, 28 percent of returning students who have the option to return to their campus say they are not going back or haven't decided yet. (Some of both groups of students may be interested in attending a community college.)

Students planning to attend private institutions were more likely than those at public institutions to change their minds about attending.

The trend extends to the most competitive of institutions. Harvard University last week said that 20 percent of freshmen were deferring enrollment.

In fact, Johnson said SImpsonScarborough has stopped trying to predict how many students will enroll this fall. "The colleges are not going to know until move-in day, and then colleges have to count heads."

The survey asked new and continuing students what they want colleges to do. The top choice for new students (but not returning students) was to stay home and take classes online. This runs counter to the dominant belief of college administrators: that students want to return.

One of the issues is that students don't trust their colleges. Only 25 percent of returning students strongly agree that their institutions would take the necessary steps to keep students safe. The figures are twice as high at colleges that have abandoned plans for in-person instruction in the fall as for colleges that expect students back.

And mirroring news reports of COVID-19 outbreaks on many campuses, only 7 percent of students strongly agree that they trust fellow students to follow safety guidelines.

Students believe they will contract the coronavirus. Three out of four freshmen are very or somewhat worried they will contract coronavirus. And only 34 percent of returning students feel safe living in the residence halls.

A growing number of students say that their colleges aren't communicating with them effectively. A prior survey, in April, found that 20 percent of students gave their institutions a grade of fair/poor in communication.

The survey was based on responses from 927 freshmen and 905 returning students, with a margin of error for the answers of 3 percent.

Read more by Scott Jaschik

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