Due to the Coronavirus outbreak, 1 in 6 young people who planned on attending university in the fall are now rethinking that decision. On top of the financial burden COVID-19 has placed on students, many are also suffering from the psychological effects of the pandemic.
How will students' changed perspective on university impact the future performance of higher education?
The Mental Health Barrier
Although many countries are phashing out of quarantine, the norm is to continue avoiding congregation. As a result, many universities are opting for entirely remote fall semesters. Students are already experiencing isolation fatigue, and this may just prolong those feelings.
Quarantine may lead to effects consistent with depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In fact, younger adults (aged 18 to 44) have experienced a 10x increase in serious mental distress in comparison to this time in 2018. The correlation between quarantine and mental health? Human interaction.
No physical classes leaves students to miss out on "normal" social experiences and activities. The loss of nuance from in-person instruction and peer interactions can also contribute to the vulnerability of a student's mental state. Recently, the average student reports feeling isolated, overwhelmed, and helpess.
From Mental to Professional
On top of mental challeneges, remote learning can leave a lasting impact on the students' career opportunities. In other words, no physical classes also means students will have decreased opportunities for networking that could go on to help build their future careers.
About 1 in 4 employers are revoking their offers to interns. As students graduate in a down economy, they will undergo negative long-term consequences.
Advice For Students
Look into online learning. Rather than skipping an entire year due to the higher education crisis, consdier a remote alternative. There are many hacks to avoid the mental challenges you can undergo when doing so, such as managing your momentum. Doing so can help you fall out of becoming a statistic of the aformentioned challeneges of remote learning.
Additionally, consider transferring your credits to a college that isn't so vulnerable - just be sure to research transfer guidelines or have an advisor check for you.
When doing so, avoid falling for scams. Check the school's accreditation, admission criteria, and reviews from former alumni, current students, and faculty.
Advice For Educators
Use technology to make the remote process easier for your students. For example, using platforms like Zoom, JotForm PDF Editor, and Turnitin can help students feel more grounded and organized.
Zoom uses a cloud platform for video and audio conferencing, chat, and webinars. This can help you continue the classroom dynamic, even when you're not together.
JotForm PDF Editor is great for teachers who need to distribute surveys, track information, and generate spreadsheets.
Turnitin provides a platform for students to turn in assignments with integrity, scanning for plagiarism and providing premier grading feedback.
The Future of Higher Education
To no surprise, returning to in-person activities will be gradual, but innovative learning can help students transition easily when this time comes. Teachers are refining their old-school methods of lecturing, swapping outdated technology for new and colleges are reassessing their financial plans. In China, 120 million students now access remote learning material through live TV sessions.
Still, the journey to a new norm remains a long one for university in the age of coronavirus.