Is it really college if it’s online?

To many high school students, college is the bridge leading to a new life of opportunity, experience and career success. It is an incredible chance to meet people with similar interests, as well as expand horizons. For these reasons, entering college is one of the most anticipated moments in a student’s life, and soon-to-be 2020 graduates were excited to begin this fall. 

However, that excitement quickly turned to confusion and concern after the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic devastated the nation. Students began to wonder whether they would even be able to attend their colleges and universities in just a few months. If this were the case, how would it affect their social lives, academic progress and especially their financial situations?

Overall, roughly 68 percent of colleges are planning for in-person instruction this fall, compared to 6 percent who are planning for an online fall semester and 6 percent who have said they would do some kind of hybrid, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education, which is tracking these announcements. Additionally, an April survey by college admission help site NitroCollege found that COVID-19 has financially affected about 69 percent of parents and 55 percent of students entering college in the upcoming year.

Due to these factors, many students at WHS, and across the nation are coming to the realization that their decisions for next school year may have to change, and if they do have the option to attend in-person classes, it may no longer be the safest option.

WHS senior Rasamee Quinn said, “If I found out that colleges were online in the fall, I would probably unenroll from Pace University and enroll in online classes at UCC to do my core credits there and get them out of the way. There is no reason to pay so much money for online classes at a city school. Once everything went back to normal, I would then transfer back to Pace. I chose Pace for the opportunities that come with being in the city such as internships and fun, but if I wouldn’t even be experiencing those things, what is the point in paying the high price?”

Unfortunately, due to the effect that the global pandemic has taken on the workforce, students’ financial situations are expected to be a much larger problem now for students and their parents. Aside from the financial burden, many students are significantly more disappointed in the lack of on-campus experiences that will ensue due to the pandemic, whether schools are online or not.

“If classes were to be online in the fall, it takes away the opportunity of meeting new people and adjusting to a new home for the next four years of our lives.” WHS Senior Sara Miller continued, “We unfortunately lost out on a lot of our senior year and having a limited amount of time in college as well and not getting the chance to have our freshman year on the actual campus really takes away from what we have all been looking forward to.”

WHS Senior Brendan Harrington said that if colleges were online in the fall he “would have a lot of trouble getting motivated being home, and it would be really unfortunate to our class to miss out on an experience we have waited so long for.”

For many 2020 seniors right now, college is something for them to look forward to after a year of senior milestones. Many students will be waiting to hear from their colleges, hoping that they will get the opportunity to explore and live out their college dreams in the 2020-2021 school year.