Wisconsin high school seniors say they are changing their post graduation plans

(WKBT) – A study released by Junior Achievement of Wisconsin shows almost 50% of graduating high school seniors have changed their post-high school plans. Out of 1,000 high school seniors in Wisconsin, many of them changed the course of their futures, in some way or another, because of COVID-19.

“It was a very surprising number,” said Michael Frohna, President of Junior Achievement of Wisconsin.

Junior Achievement of Wisconsin shared the results of the survey, and found that not everyone is changing their plans completely.

“What they’re looking at is whether they go to the workforce first, or whether they delay going to college,” said Frohna. “And there was a subset of the population that said they were changing that really are going to go to college but they’ve changed their trajectory of their career choice.”

Frohna said the 2020 class was in-tune with the financial decisions and challenges they might face by going straight to college after graduation. He said they are uncertain of the value with the socialization, and in person classes aspect potentially being taken away.

“I still think there’s a lot of excellent programs that can be delivered online, but let’s face it, there really is something special about being in a group of your peers, sharing new ideas, learning from the professor, being challenged, and then going to the rec center at night,” said Frohna.

But, he mentioned other student situations, where the pandemic has inspired them.

“In one case we talked with a student who had no interest in health care, but after seeing all of the impact that the healthcare workers were having on communities, they decided that they wanted to be a nurse,” said Frohna.

UW La Crosse said it hasn’t necessarily seen extensive repercussions.

“We’re continuing to see a strong number of our fall recruitment class looking to continue with us this fall semester,” said Sam Pierce, Assistant Director of Admissions, UWL.

But, a Western Tech high school career coach has been working over the summer helping students figure out what’s right for them.

“I’m still having those conversations everyday to where students just aren’t sure,” said Mac Kiel, Western Tech high school career coach.

Kiel said that with life constantly changing, some students are having second thoughts.

“Even students that were very sure before, or students that weren’t sure before kind of switching to, yes now this is the perfect time to come,” said Kiel.

Both colleges encourage students rethinking their decision that there is still time to apply for the fall semester.