Class of 2020: Education experts weigh in on unique challenges for grads

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Educators and mentors shared their wisdom and offered reassurance to the class of 2020 Friday.

"Everyone is going through the exact same thing," said Amy Thompson, President of Illinois Association for College Admissions Counseling.

"[The] more you use your voice and leverage communities, [the] better success," said VP of Partnerships, Chicago Scholars Jeff Beckham.

Beckham emphasizing the value of your voice, particularly for the first generation college students he mentors who are all from under-served communities where internet and digital devices may be less accessible.

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"We've had kids whose parents have both been COVID positive, and have had to deal with that while navigating school, selecting college, and worrying about where meals will come from," Beckham said.

With the unprecedented burden weighing on many families, Amundsen High School Principal Anna Pavichevich said school will have a very different look this fall, regardless of where students sit each day.

"We're going to need to look at the social emotional aspects," she said. "The logistics are really going to drive what the academics look like but you can expect a lot of repetition, a lot of review."

For college bound teens, the University of Illinois recommends knowing your school's deadlines and being patient.

"If you're going to rush and make a decision on something, the reality may be very different a few weeks from now," said Andy Borst, the director of Undergraduate Admissions at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The job market is yet another unknown for the class of 2020 and education experts are encouraging students to keep their skill set sharp.

"There will be jobs so being flexible and adaptive is super important," they said.

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