Welcome to back college, pandemic students. This year is different.


During the pandemic, colleges and universities made instructional, financial, and organizational pivots. But with high school graduation rates dropping and the national exam of fourth and eighth graders showing steep learning losses in math, many students are arriving on campus less prepared for the rigors of college. Mental health issues, anxiety, and a lack of study skills are common, and administrators say help is needed with everything from algebra to workload management.

Colleges are bolstering academic support, tutors, and mental health staff in an effort to help students reach the standards they need. Professors say they find themselves having to show grace – and worrying that if they show too much, they’ll hurt their students’ career prospects.

Why We Wrote This

What’s the best way to help pandemic-era college students who arrived less prepared than previous years? Colleges add tutors, mental health resources – and a measure of grace.

At the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, which focuses heavily on STEM, professors started noticing more withdrawals and low grades. Administrators added more college preparedness classes and hired at least 30 new academic tutors. 

“What we’re seeing is that students may be coming with slightly lower preparation in math. We’re seeing students who maybe are coming with slightly lower high school GPAs than might have in previous years, because things were different in high school during online learning,” says Delana Gregg, director of academic learning resources, assessment, and analysis.

It has been challenging for Asia Alexander to gain perspective on how college used to be, pre-pandemic.

The 19-year-old Howard University sophomore doesn’t know how things used to be, frankly, because she was still in high school when COVID-19 hit. She finished her freshman year with a 3.8 GPA, attributed some to her smarts and some to a lighter workload. This school year, things changed.

“I just think the way the world shifted and coming back to college and the way the older teachers are trying to unshift it is really aggravating,” Ms. Alexander says. “We’re not used to doing regular school anymore.” 

Why We Wrote This

What’s the best way to help pandemic-era college students who arrived less prepared than previous years? Colleges add tutors, mental health resources – and a measure of grace.

Ms. Alexander is one of many undergraduate students in the United States who spent their senior year distance learning during the pandemic. As learning and teaching changed in schools across the country, they had to learn both online and in person. School rituals changed, and some students got used to lighter workloads, which teachers doled out in hopes of not short-circuiting students’ brains amid a worldwide emergency. 

Every college and university made instructional, financial, and organizational pivots. But with high school graduation rates dropping and the national exam of fourth and eighth graders showing steep learning losses in math in every state, many students are arriving on campus less prepared for the rigors of college. Mental health issues, social anxiety, and a lack of study skills are common, and faculty and administrators say help is needed with everything from algebra to workload management. 



Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *