Bandon High School 2020 graduation parade.

The coronavirus has changed many things, including students' postsecondary plans. In May and June of 2020, our external evaluator, Metis Associates, administered a senior exit survey in 17 of 22 rural Oregon GEAR UP high schools. A total of 529 students completed the survey (37% response rate). The survey asked students to identify their postsecondary plans (before and after the COVID-19 pandemic started), to reflect on their high school experiences, and to provide contact information so GEAR UP and the schools can continue to support them after transitioning out of high school.

22% of seniors reported changing their plans as a result of the pandemic

Before COVID-19, the large majority of students were planning to attend a 2-year college (30.5%), followed by 4-year college or university (28.5%), and a 2-year/4-year institution (10.0%%). Smaller proportions were planning to work part-time or full-time only (9.4%), go into a certificate or trade program or apprenticeship (8.1%), were unsure (6.2%), join the military (5.3%), or had other plans (2.5%).

I changed my plans for financial reasons and to stay closer at home.

  • The overall proportion of students planning to attend just a 2-year or just a 4-year institution, and those planning to enlist in the military, remained fairly consistent before and after COVID-19.
  • In contrast, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, there were larger overall increases in the proportion of students who were planning to work only (from 9.4% before COVID to 13.9% after COVID) and those who were unsure what their plans were (from 6.2% before COVID to 8.9% after COVID).
  • There were also overall decreases in the proportion of students who were planning for a 2-year/4-year institution (from 10% before COVID to 5.4% after COVID), those planning to enroll in a certificate or trade program or apprenticeship (from 8.1% before COVID to 5.5% after COVID), and those who had other plans (from 2.5% before COVID to 1.5% after COVID).

Read the full report for more insights. In late fall 2020, Metis will obtain and analyze college enrollment data from the National Student Clearinghouse. Students’ postsecondary plans—as noted in the senior exit survey—will be compared to verified college enrollment data.

Changes in students' postsecondary plans before and after COVID-19

Hover or click on the graphic to see just one data point. Click again to see the full graphic.