Colleges are Moving Online Due to Covid-19: What Should You Do?
As Covid-19 Continues To Impact Higher Education, Many Parents Are Left With More Questions Than Answers…
With each passing day moving the class of 2020 closer to their first semester of college, parents across the world are beginning to feel the same creeping feeling: “What can I do to help my child deal with the changes Covid-19 brings?”
As we work together to navigate these difficult times, there are still ways that you can prepare your child for whatever plan their college may implement to combat the spread of Covid-19.
The Continued Impact Of Covid-19
As scientists and researchers across the world learn more about Covid-19, new information about the spread of the disease continues to have an impact on how academic institutions provide for their students. One of the largest public universities in the United States, California State University, has already announced its intention to hold classes online during the fall of 2020. As schools across the country continue to struggle with the spread of Covid-19, more institutions are expected to follow suit and announce either all-online classes or “hybrid” courses where students are only in the classroom as needed (with social distancing and safety measures in place).
Thankfully, people are coming together to support each other in these strange times. With the uncertainty surrounding the 2020 fall semester for many students, students and parents alike will need to develop new skills in order to adapt.
What All-Online Classes Mean For Students
The majority of US colleges have yet to announce how they will handle the Fall 2020 semester.
This uncertainty means that students may not be able to fully prepare for college just yet. However, one thing that students across the country should prepare for is the possibility of taking all-online classes.
For students, all-online classes can be a radical change from the type of education they were preparing for their freshman year. Online classes require more personal drive and motivation to stay focused than in-person education. Additionally, many students will face technical issues along the way as they adapt to online courses.
Yet, just as all-online classes have their drawbacks, there are also many benefits to virtual learning. From creating Discord study-groups that take breaks to play Overwatch to having Youtube videos explaining your college algebra at the tip of your fingers, students and professors are already coming up with solutions to the issues faced in virtual learning. Add to that the traditional benefits of online learning (like flexibility and lower costs) and there’s no doubt students can adapt if they try.
How Your Child Can Prepare For The Fall
With so much uncertainty surrounding how colleges will approach school in the fall, it can be difficult to prepare for any specific outcome. Not only that, but many students in the Class of 2020 are still feeling the impact of missing classes and events during their senior year.
Fortunately, there are ways you can help your child stay on track despite these intrusions into the normal transition from high school to college.
One of the often forgotten benefits of traditional college is a student’s ability to create a routine. At home, it can be very easy for students to struggle to create a routine that achieves a balance between school time and free time.
Many students will find comfort by throwing themselves into their studies during uncertain times. For these students, it is incredibly important to schedule breaks, days off, and time to spend doing recharging hobbies or pastimes they love. The possibility of burnout is just as real at home as it is on a college campus.
Other students may find it difficult to get anything done or even focus on their education when stuck at home. Major life disruptions and sudden routine changes can cause distress to anyone of any age. If your child has trouble adapting to the challenges of Covid-19, provide what support you can and consider reaching out to a mental health professional. Early intervention and support can make it much easier for you and your child to adapt and heal.
MAKE CONNECTIONS WITH PEERS
The social experience of college is vital to expanding your child’s worldview, teaching them valuable soft skills, and creating lifelong friendships. Recreating these social opportunities while attending online classes is vital to your child’s success. While there is no replacement for face to face interactions with your peers, there are many solutions to the loneliness that can occur with distance learning.
Talk with your child about the importance of making connections with their peers; both from their school and from schools across the globe. With the instant speed of the Internet, it’s easier than ever to find friendship and support!
CREATE A STUDY SPOT
Just as it’s difficult to work from home from your kitchen table, it will be equally difficult for your child to focus on their studies without a designated area to call their own. While it may not be possible for every student to get their own study room or desk, do your best to create an environment where your child can focus.
The ideal study spot is:
- Quiet, with minimal background noise (noise-canceling headphones are a great option)
- A place where your child can spread out books, laptops, and papers
- Used solely for your child’s schoolwork and studying
Encourage your child to make their study space their own; if it’s part of their bedroom, consider redecorating with what you have to give them a “move-in day” feeling. School swag, pictures from high school, and personal touches can help students remind themselves of the positives when online learning gets frustrating.
KEEP EVERYONE UPDATED
With the onslaught of stressful news every day, it’s incredibly easy to become overwhelmed by Covid-19. While dealing with the consequences of the outbreak can have a real impact on mental health, it’s still important to make sure you and your child keep each other updated.
As we draw nearer to the Fall 2020 semester, more colleges will begin to lay out their Covid-19 learning plans. In order to prevent any confusion, make an effort to sit down with your child once a week to assess the situation. You may see an article that your child would find helpful, whereas they may get an email about new information regarding their college’s plan. In these stressful times, keeping a clear line of communication open and holding regular check-ins will help keep your child focused, motivated, and on-track.
The Class Of 2020 Can Start Preparing Now
Despite the uncertainty surrounding the future of higher education, the class of 2020 can start preparing the challenges their first semester of college may bring. The sooner your child begins to adapt to the possibility of online classes, the more time they will have to hone their skills and create a routine that works for them. Remember, no two college kids are the same. Your child will find a way to make online learning suit their needs, especially if given the support and resources they need.
With this in mind, we’d like to invite you to join us during our next weekly “Navigating College Applications During Covid-19” webinar. Our WeAdmit counselors are working their hardest to keep parents informed, provide critical support, and share our tips for dealing with the changes Covid-19 will bring to your child’s college future.
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