College, high school graduates deal with uncertain future due to COVID-19

As social distancing orders continue in our area, high school and college seniors set to graduate in May are wondering what the future holds for them. 

About a month ago, college seniors were about to graduate into one of the strongest job markets in years, but in a matter of weeks, the economy has taken a steep downturn. 

For University of Houston senior Valleria Ferrer, her last semester of college is focused on adjusting to virtual learning and wondering if she'll ever get a chance to celebrate graduation. 

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"I didn't want my senior year to end this way. We worked so hard for this moment and now this moment’s just gone," Ferrer said. 

"I already bought my cap and gown and everything, and I feel like I'm not even going to use it," Ferrer continued. 

Worst of all, Ferrer and millions of college seniors across the US are job searching in one of the worst job markets in history. 

The labor department reporting last week that more than 3 million Americans had filed for unemployment, amidst the global pandemic. 

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Valeria said she too was laid off from her law firm last week. 
"I want to be an attorney. I was going to go to law school and my law firm had a job lined up for me. Unfortunately, I got let go because of the Coronavirus. They called me and told me they couldn't afford to keep all the staff and employees," Ferrer said. 

It’s a similar story for high school seniors making difficult decisions about college while most campuses have canceled tours and visits.

To help, a Houston based start-up called Major Decision is connecting high schoolers and their families with current undergrads at over 1,700 schools through their online platform. 

CEO and founder Brian Smith said he hopes Major Decision will provide a personal, one-on-one connection that can help incoming college students make the best, informed decision.  

"The high school student and their family can log on and see the profiles of all the student advisors. They can search by college, major, and at minimum, the college advisors are required to post a picture of themselves for security reasons.  

"Major Decision is hoping to create one place where they can vet all the colleges they’re looking at and ask questions they don't necessarily get answered through the admissions office," Smith said.