Pay Attention to College's COVID-19 Responses
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Student Life

Pay Attention to College's COVID-19 Responses

Their actions during one of the most challenging moments in world history will inform your college experience.

Pay Attention to College's COVID-19 Responses

Moving out of my college dorm and saying good bye to my roommates in the middle of March felt like a fever dream. We all understood why we had to leave and that the threat posed by this virus was serious and imminent, yet somehow the entire event felt surreal. I was uprooted from my routine and found myself in this strange world where the only thing we are certain of is that nothing can be certain. However, before I could absorb the shock from this sudden transition, I was face to face with the impact that the Coronavirus would have on my family and home-life.

This is the reality for students at any academic level across the world. "Sheltering in place" looks drastically different from household to household, with some students going home to a comfortable and productive environment, while others are finding themselves having to work to support their families or take care of sick loved ones.

The widely diverse student bodies that so many institutions boast of also have unique and diverse home lives with countless challenges that are only amplified by the public health and economic chaos caused by the Coronavirus.

The one thing we all have in common, however, is our academic responsibilities. Education is important, and anyone who pursues higher education, has a high regard for their academic success. Under normal circumstances, education is my most valuable asset and I pour my heart and soul into my studies. Under normal circumstances.

This is true for many students whose lives have been put on hold, and against their will, they have been put in a position where they can not give their all to their academics as they would have if they were still at school.

Many universities across the country have acknowledged the difficulty of this transition, while others leave more to be desired. That is why I urge any student, high school, undergraduates, and graduates alike to consider the following variables when deciding where you might want to continue your academic pursuits. Keep in mind how the virus has affected your academics, your family, and your mental health, and consider how you would like to be treated by your academic institution or company if you were dealing with a form of crisis.

How did they handle the logistics of the transition? 

When considering options for which university you would like to attend, consider how they treated students during the chaos of the move out process. Did they communicate with students effectively and give them ample time to find housing alternatives and move their belongings? Did they develop a plan of action to give out refunds and work study balances? Did they assist with food and housing for their most vulnerable students?

These may seem unimportant to your college experience, but the way an institution supports the basic needs of students during a crisis is very telling of how they will support your basic needs during a normal academic year.

How did they handle the academic transition? 

It is no secret that cheating will be rampant when students can take tests from home and pay for expensive test banks and tutoring services. Students will also struggle with access to adequate technology, private study spaces, and internet connection. They won't have access to technology and library resources that were readily available on campus.

Did your institution make sure that classes were structured in a way that allowed all students to succeed? Did they promote equal opportunity for all students, or did they turn a blind eye to the honor code violations that would inevitably happen with the remote learning model and that would automatically put disadvantaged students behind? Did they encourage their faculty to be flexible and sympathetic with deadlines and exams?

Many students still want to learn during this time, and they don't want their hard work from the beginning of the semester to go to waste. However, there are ways to provide students with the same valuable education they paid for without adding to the already stressful situation.

Will they look at grades for Spring 2020? 

For many of the reasons I listed above, several universities are weighing options for a variety of new grading scales. There are countless proposed models from an optional pass fail to an "A or A- only" system. None of them are perfect, but ultimately, the grading basis your current institution adopts should not matter.

Any graduate program, company, or undergraduate institution that considers poor grades during the Spring of 2020 a red flag should automatically be deleted from your school list.

If a university won't be understanding and support it's students and applicants during a global crisis, then they will not hesitate to treat you poorly once you are at their institution. Consider the complexities of life, and how personal problems can get in the way of an education for many people. If that tragedy were to strike while you were at this institution, would they support you and do everything they could to guide you to success or would they only make life harder and impede your ability to earn your degree?

What did they do for the community? 

The world is suffering, not only because of the virus, but also because of the economic destruction it has caused. Some businesses will never recover from this. Some families might lose their homes after this. Some people may not have food on the table for a long time after this.

Universities are also losing money to this pandemic, but if they have the means, did they support people on the front-lines? Did they support the most vulnerable and at-risk populations in their community? Did they make an effort to contribute towards relief, whether it be in the form of research, donations, or advocacy?

This is by no means an exhaustive list of the questions you should be asking your future colleges. However, we must hold these institutions to a high standard if we want a high quality and fulfilling education from them.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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