In Sunday’s paper (Oct. 25), contributing columnist Evan Green posed an extremely important question. “How are high school seniors supposed to choose a college when they can’t visit them during the pandemic?”
That’s a question we’ve been helping students and families answer since the spread of coronavirus changed our worlds in early March.
The campus visit has been at the heart of the college decision since students began making that decision. We spend a lot of time encouraging students to find the right fit, to picture themselves at their college of choice, and to attend events that allow them to experience campus life.
Green is right. While the pandemic has not stopped us from continuing to provide high quality academic programs and services to students, it has definitely interrupted the traditional college search. It has created challenges for high school students and for college admission offices.
At Shawnee State, we’ve been working with high school guidance counselors, local and state health departments, and students and families to find creative and safe ways to overcome the challenges created by the pandemic. While we can’t gather in large crowds, we have welcomed individuals and small families to campus for personalized tours. We just planned our first “drive-by” event where families could get their questions answered from the safety of their cars — and take a self-guided tour.
We’ve added to these visits with virtual visit days, online campus tours, school visits, and sessions where student questions can be answered by faculty, admission and financial aid counselors, coaches, and academic advisors remotely, as well.
What students are discovering is that finding the right fit goes far beyond the campus visit. It’s about feeling a connection with faculty and academic programs, knowing that people and services are available to support them throughout their education, and realizing their dream job is within their reach. It’s also about access and affordability — and getting excited about the fact that earning a college degree is possible.
What we’re finding is exactly what Green said at the close of his column. This generation is resilient. They are realizing that while events and activities may have changed, their dreams and plans for the future haven’t — and they don’t need to put their lives on hold.
A college degree provides options and opportunities, and delaying it can cost lost earnings that will be felt for years to come.
Shawnee State is here to help students reach their education, life and career goals — even (and maybe especially) during a global pandemic.
As president of Shawnee State University and an educator of more than 30 years, I want to thank Mr. Green and his fellow classmates for continuing to ask questions about their future and seek guidance on how their goals can be achieved. Together, we will continue to move forward during this pandemic and impact the world around us for the better.
This writer’s opinion is their own and not the opinion of this newspaper
Jeff Bauer is the president of Shawnee State University.