Countless decisions are still up in the air for Fall 2020 in the world of higher education. Once students have navigated the new waters of college admissions post-Covid and are finally admitted, what should the class of 2024 expect from their college experience? Unfortunately, the answer that everyone feels uncomfortable with must be given: for the most part, we just don’t know.
Here are some things we do know:
The Cal State University system announced that, outside of select highly technical programs or health majors like nursing that require in-class instruction, classes will remain online for the Fall 2020 term and campuses will remain closed. The University of California also announced that campuses are likely to remain closed in the fall with an instruction plan that includes both online classes and some instruction in classrooms and labs.
Each school outside these two systems will address the pandemic differently, some may only allow Freshman students on campus and switch to online learning for the upperclassmen, some may limit or close on-campus housing, and some may go 100% online. Each school will roll out their own plan in the coming weeks and likely publish those plans on their individual websites. These plans may also change without much notice depending on when the anticipated resurgence occurs.
The other thing we also absolutely know for sure is that no college will go back to the way it was, at least not this year.
So, what can parents and students do with this information? The best course of action is to develop a plan to make the most of your college experience. If attending in the Fall, contact your assigned academic adviser to discuss what these changes may entail for your specific goals. If you will not be attending college in the Fall, it is OK to be anxious about what comes next, but remember, the best parts of college--meeting new people, being exposed to new ideas and opportunities will still exist. They will just take place in different formats and venues. Socializing might take place in smaller groups and bigger venues, classes may be 50/50 in person and online, and off campus study opportunities might transition into exploring more of our own backyards rather than traveling abroad.
A positive attitude is the name of the game in this new world of higher education.