5 Trends College Students Will See In the Fall of 2020
Posted on May 06 2020
National Decision Day (May 1st) is typically a joyous occasion when college students commit to a college or university for the next academic year. However, with the Coronavirus outbreak some of that joy has been dampened by thoughts of uncertainty. Will my first choice college campus be open in the fall or will I be taking all my courses online at home? It's a reaction many students are having since many colleges and universities have yet to decide whether they will open their campuses in the fall.
Why does this matter? It seems some students did not have a good experience with the online classes. For some, the online classes were always behind the labs.
"As a STEM major who is currently taking Physics with a lab, online courses suck. My physics class is always behind my lab on the content they’re teaching so I have had to teach myself the lab material. Now I teach myself without help since we have no actual meetings for lab or class. Instead of doing the labs, they send us data sheets and some equations which we are supposed to write our reports on, completely disconnecting us from the material we are writing about. On top of that, the expectations for grading are the same as before. This whole online class thing just doesn’t work for some courses” said a student from Boston College.
Some professors did not take into consideration the amount of work load they were assigning. “I thought classes may become easier since we’re all at home, and its quicker to go to class, and ultimately just chill during the quarantine. But it has been the complete opposite, the average amount of time I spend sleeping is 4–6 hours (6 on a good day like the weekend), and I spend most of my day trying to catch up on work. Some of my professors are understanding and not forcing deadlines on us, but I have a class in which the professor believes that because we have “more time” at home as a result of quarantine, they assign much more work" said a sophomore from Boston College.
While others did not fully understand the emotional toll the Coronavirus was causing students. According to a senior from Boston College, "I had a Midterm first day of Zoom class. My mom lost her job. I barely have energy to do my homework."
Colleges and universities have an incredibly huge task ahead of them...open campuses and provide a safe environment for students to come back to. In The Lessons We Learned From the Last Pandemic Swine Flu and How This Information Can Help College Students in the Fall, we discovered that there is great concern and probability that we will have a second wave of Coronavirus cases in the fall. However, if colleges and universities do not open, there's a greater risk of financial ruin. The stakes have never been higher. The pressure is on for students and colleges/universities to find solutions that work for them. As a result, students will see 5 trends emerging now and well into the summer.
1) Students will Decide to Take a Gap Year
— John Scalzi (@scalzi) April 26, 2020
Rachel Lott, a high school senior from Illinois told ABC news that "Online classes are nowhere near as impactful in my opinion, just based on e-learning now, as classes in person." Her father agrees, "You're paying for the college experience, you're paying for the lecture experience, you're paying for your kids mingling with other bright and interesting students, and all of that's gone," Lott told ABC News. “I don't feel comfortable writing a big check without them saying, 'listen, if we switch to an e-learning platform, then there's going to be this kind of rebate."
According to a poll conducted by the Baltimore-based Art & Science Group (they surveyed 487 high school seniors in March of 2020) 35% (nearly 1 in six students) were considering taking a gap year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
2) Students will Attend College Closer to Home
NBC News reports that Diego Castillo from McAllen, Texas wanted to attend college out of state. He was leaning towards Boston University. However, when the pandemic happened, he had a change of heart. He started helping in his local community by delivering groceries to senior members of the community. Before National Decision Day, he started to have doubts about leaving the state for college. In the end, he decided to stay closer to home and is planning to attend The University of Texas in the fall.
The smartest man in higher education speaks. And if my daughter’s NY college doesn’t reopen in the fall, I’m glad Purdue is only a few hours away from us: https://t.co/9XjHjSzKeN— Julie Kelly (@julie_kelly2) April 27, 2020
3. Students will Continue to Seek Restitution for Tuition, Room and Board.
Frustrated college students are suing colleges and universities for breach of contract. Bloomberg reports, "United States undergraduates have sued more than 50 schools, demanding partial tuition, room & board, and fee refunds after the shut down." Many of the suits claim that colleges can not switch from in-person to remote learning and expect the experiences to be the same or equal. As a result, some colleges have agreed to refund unused room & board (i.e. Columbia, Harvard & Middlebury).
4. Students will Attend Classes in the Fall of 2020
Purdue University is one of many schools taking the lead to put students back on campus in the fall. According to Mitch Daniels, President at Purdue University, "We have every intention of being on campus this fall. We are sober about the challenges that will bring. We believe in the value of the on-campus experience, and we’re determined, if we’re permitted to do so by the public authorities and medical circumstances. If at all possible, we intend to be open and operating.”
However, when students arrive at school in the fall, it may look a little different. Here's a list of possible new changes.
- Spreading out classes across days and times to reduce their size
- More online instruction for on-campus students
- Allowing – or requiring – people more at risk to the virus to work remotely
- Pre-testing students and staff for infection and post-infection immunity and using the Purdue laboratory to ensure fast results
- Tracing contacts for those who test positive and asking contacts to self-quarantine for 14 days.
Others will consider staggered or shortened academic calendars. Stanford University is considering teaching classes outdoors in tents. Provost Persis Drell said that utilizing tents for instruction would allow the university to “take advantage of the weather”. Therefore, slowing the spread of the disease.
Christina Paxson, the president and a professor of economics and public policy at Brown University, in an April 26 New York Times Op-Ed said, "The reopening of college and university campuses in the fall should be a national priority. Institutions should develop public health plans now that build on three basic elements of controlling the spread of infection: test, trace and separate." She indicates that isolation and quarantine (e.g. hotel rooms) should be set aside if students in the fall test positive for Covid-19 or become ill.
5. Students will be taught all classes online in the fall
Some of the California schools have already announced that they will offer only online classes for the fall (i.e. California State University, Fullerton, Santa Monica College and Sierra College). If your school decides to teach remotely, it may only be for the fall quarter. UCLA plans to provide students the option of how they want to attend their fall 2020 classes (in-person, virtually or a mix of the two). “At a minimum, since we know it might not be possible for some students to safely travel to campus, we plan to offer the option of remote learning at least for fall quarter, even if some classes are held in person,” said UCLA Chancellor Gene Block. If your college or university does decide to offer instruction online, there's some things students can do to better prepare for an online quarter or semester.
Here's the Do's and Dont's from ECLEARN:
- Take time to review all the help files available.
- Don't read material just once. Multiple reading, line-by-line reading are among the keys to understanding (i.e.mathematics).
- Spend some time just navigating your way through the class and making sure you can figure out what the buttons are for.
- Don't expect too much, to soon. Study and then re-study.
- Manage your time. You will find that your time management skills will be critical in an online class. Why? Because it's very easy to spend either far too little time, or far too much time on the class. Set designated blocks of time to work on the class. This will help you stay up with the assignments and with the interaction required in most online classes.
- Download or print out pages for reference and review away from the computer.
- Set priorities and pay close attention to what your instructor says about priorities.
- Try hard to solve problems independently before you ask for help.
Other tips for what makes a successful online student can be found here.
It's definitely a unique time to be a college student and some would agree a frustrating time too, but with time and patience students will excel and in the end be ideal employees capable of handling anything._________________________________________________________________
Rebecca Hastings is the CEO/Founder of hugabox, college care packages with a purpose (90% of the proceeds go to childhood cancer research). She is a huge advocate for sarcoma cancer research funding and works with others across the country to make childhood cancer a national priority. When she is not working, she is off hiking, skiing and playing golf with her husband. You can also find her on Facebook and Instagram @ hugabox.
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