Life for Freshman College Students during COVID-19

  • September 18, 2020
A college student adapting to distance learning in his college dorm

As the new school year begins, many college students are adapting to life during COVID-19, wondering what their college experience will be like. Some students may be attending college in person under Covid precautions, some will be stuck at home with distance learning, while others have decided to wait and take a gap year. 

Whatever it may be, it’s safe to say that college life will never be the same. 

Dozens of universities have shut down and resorted to distance learning, still charging full tuition even though students are just getting lectures online. Harvard University, for example, faced controversy for charging full tuition despite a virtual year. This upset many students who believe that they shouldn’t have to pay full price since they aren’t living in the school’s housing or gaining access to campus buildings. Some other colleges, such as Georgetown University and Princeton University, have cut tuition by ten percent, additionally slashing student activity fees. 

The debate is ongoing about whether or not colleges should have the right to charge full tuition or not, with most students maintaining that they shouldn’t have to pay the full price. 

More than a few students have opted for a gap year since they won’t be experiencing the freshman experience even while still paying full tuition. 

However, the majority of students have opted to follow through with their plans to attend college this fall, whether it be through a computer screen or face-to-face.

Lucas Oh, a 2020 graduate of LCHS who is attending UC Santa Cruz virtually, shared his thoughts, “I’m really sad that I’m not going to be doing the typical freshman college things like moving in, going to parties, living in a dorm with a roommate, and living away from home.” He also mentioned that he had no orientation, which made the entry into college feel like a fake one. 

Like Lucas, many students are sad that they’re unable to attend their first year of college in person, but have decided to go online since they believe taking a gap year won’t change anything.

Even though the coronavirus has no plans of stopping, especially with Americans not taking precautions, some colleges believe that it’s best to be fully in person. For example, Casper College, located in Wyoming, is fully in-person but will maintain a 1,000 person limit on certain parts of the campus. In an August report, they released a statement that they hope to live up to the expectations for first year students while maintaining covid safety precautions.

Like Casper College, many other colleges that are fully in-person follow suit with special rules such as a cap on student occupancy. Some colleges are providing housing for students who don’t have good living situations/conditions, where they’re able to use the school WiFi and start online learning there. Each college varies on their take for in person schooling, but the general consensus is that it shouldn’t be flooded with people and that precautions are still in place. 

Although the only students affected at the moment are college freshmen, seniors at high schools may possibly be in the same boat.

Patarada Yontrarak, a senior at LCHS shares what she would feel if she still has to follow Covid precautions. She said, “I feel sad because I may not be able to experience a real college environment and I won’t get to make as many friends.”

Daniel Chung, another senior at LCHS, has many feelings about the situation. He shares one, stating, “I don’t like it at all because you don’t get to meet and get to know other people; I think that’s a very important part of school.”

Although the freshmen class of 2020-2021 will never experience a traditional first year of college, they still carry on, making the best of their circumstances. 

Information comes from CNBC, Casper College, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and Insider High ED

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