Four Simple Things Students Want From College Now
With COVID-19 rapidly changing the higher education landscape, many colleges are facing challenges, ranging from whether or not to hold in-person classes, to budget cuts, to students expecting decreased tuition based on the new normal of online lectures. According to Matt Wilkerson in a recent article for Inside Higher Ed, the answer to these shifts. Just listen to what students actually want and give them that.
The first area that colleges must show up for, Wilkerson states, is in regards to career building. Current and prospective students alike have watched the job market decline during the pandemic, leaving many worried about future education opportunities. For students who are worried about online education negatively impacting the quality of it or who want to get started on their career right away, proving that the school is invested in employment outcomes of students is crucial. From participating in community or employer partnerships to investing in career centers and training, providing evidence that going to school will help one land a job is necessary given the current environment.
Speaking of employment, Wilkerson also attests that collegiate networking must be both clarified and properly engaged. For some degrees, like business or film, networking with other students by attending events is a key component – and draw – of earning a degree. With social-distancing guidelines in place and a high risk associated with any size gathering, Wilkerson writes that the schools must take it upon themselves to plan and promote virtual versions of these events. The alumni networks at schools are also more crucial than ever, as connections during these times can provide leads on employment.
The last two points Wilkerson makes have to do with on-campus expectations – and communication about what campus will even look like come fall. The first component is clear communication with student bodies about what is happening at a university level. Transparency about how classes will be held, how the school will continue to support students, fee structures, and decisions still being made help students to feel more at ease and put more trust in the institution. This ties directly into Wilkerson’s final point, which is all about finding ways to maintain campus opportunities in a safe way, especially when it comes to on-campus jobs and class projects that are crucial to the major.
These four points boil down to one simple premise: colleges must show up for their students and be clear while doing so. If that happens, then a safe and educational fall semester is possible.
Read the full article here.