Liz Morrison, LCSW
What Will College Look Like Next Year in 2022?
You’ve waited a long time to go to college. You’ve dreamed about leaving your parent’s house and the freedom that comes with being on your own. You’re ready to meet new people and have new experiences. As a senior in high school, you’re looking forward to what a new college experience will bring.
But you’re left wondering:
What will college look like next fall?
Will college be normal next fall?
How do I navigate a new college experience in a new time?
We get it, you want a regular college experience. But with everything in flux right now, it’s hard to know what college will look like next fall. So, in our four-blog series about navigating the pandemic, we’ve returned to give you a few tips and tricks to help you manage your expectations about what college will be like in this “new normal.”
Will College be Normal Next Year?
We don’t know for sure if college will be normal in the fall of 2022. First of all, everyone’s definition of “normal” is different. You’re probably hoping for dorm life, parties, interesting classes, beautiful campuses, and tailgating at football games.
The new college experience will most likely look very different, but it’s hard to tell what exactly college will be like. Managing your expectations will be crucial in preparing for college next fall. One way you can prepare yourself is by gathering information.
We suggest talking to current students at the colleges of your choice to get a feel for what college life is like right now. Often student ambassadors are assigned to incoming students to help answer their questions and show them around the campus. It could help tremendously to get a sense of what college will be like by talking to students who are living this “new normal” themselves.
What Will College Be Like?
Again, we don’t know for sure what college will be like next fall because the world is changing rapidly. What’s true for this year’s freshmen may not be true for you next year.
We suggest that you focus your energy on what you know to be true. There is information out there that you can get about what college looks like now. This may help you figure out what college will look like in the future.
Tips and Tricks for Managing Your New College Experience
We’ve put together a list of five tips and tricks to help you manage your new college experience. Hopefully, these will help you figure out how to navigate the “new normal” of starting college next fall.
1. Manage your expectations. We know you’re excited and nervous about what college will be like. It’s important to manage your expectations about your new college experience. Things will look different for you than they did for your friends and family members who went to college before the pandemic. But that doesn’t mean they’ll be bad.
Talk to current students at your college to see what it’s like there now that colleges are back in person again. You can get a sense from them of what the experience is like. They may have an idea of what college will look like next fall. They’ll at least be able to help you understand what college will be like at your new school.
2. Talk to friends who started college this year. Talk to them about what their experience has been like so far. Remember that in a year things may look different, but it’s good to get an idea of what college will be like after talking to friends who have already started the process.
3. Talk about your concerns about what college will look like in the fall. You can try talking to your friends and family about how you’re feeling. If they don’t have answers for you, that’s ok, because not everyone does right now.
It might be helpful to process with a therapist or counselor your feelings about what college will be like and what this new college experience will be. Your therapist or counselor can help you sort out your feelings about school and help you come up with a plan for different scenarios.
4. Do some research about what your new school is doing as far as the pandemic is concerned. In addition to talking to current students, reach out to the head of your department if you’ve selected a major and ask questions. They’re there to help.
If you haven’t selected a major, reach out to student groups and even the college counselors to see if they can answer your questions. Look into what protocols are being put in place so you can get a sense of whether you’ll have a roommate or whether football games will be happening or if you need to get vaccinated in order to attend in person.
5. Journal. Write about your worries, what you’re excited about, and the things you’ll be upset about if they don’t happen when you go to school next fall. Use journaling as a way to work through feelings of disappointment related to the new college experience. You can always process these thoughts and feelings with a therapist or counselor.
Think about the things you’ve heard about college before the pandemic and everything you’ve learned about what college looks like right now. Get all your feelings out on paper. It’ll help you sort through your emotions, help you navigate your new college experience, and manage your expectations. You can share your thoughts with your therapist or counselor if you want and they can help you process everything you’re feeling regarding what college will look like next year.
We know times are challenging right now for everyone, but especially students wondering what college will be like for them. If you’re looking for support on how to manage your college expectations, we’re here to help. To hear more about how we can help, please visit our contact page to request a free 15-minute consultation.