Covid-19 Pandemic: What are High School Seniors Thinking?

Highlights:

  • Outgoing high school seniors are still planning to attend college in the fall.
  • So far, COVID-19 has not influenced which college students will be attending. 
  • It is extremely important for college administrators to communicate clearly and concisely.
  • Students are concerned most about not knowing whether they are being kept fully in the loop!
  • Information regarding future changes or events such as virtual orientations, Greek rush programs and more should be communicated with plenty of advanced notice. 

At COCM we are focused on understanding the new generations of students who will be attending colleges around the country over the next few years.  That is why we set out to discover exactly what high school seniors heading off to college in the Fall were thinking about while quarantined and finishing their Senior year from home.  In order to accomplish that goal, we interviewed two Seniors at Hoover High School; Maddie and Sadie.  Both girls provided valuable insights into the minds of a teenager heading off to college and even listed a few values they are looking for in great administration.

We wanted to begin the conversation by gathering some background information about how the girls made their decisions to attend their perspective colleges.  Maddie was planning to move back to her hometown of Auburn in order to attend Auburn University; home of the Tigers to study Nursing.  Sadie on the other hand couldn’t want to graduate and head off to Birmingham Southern University, a beautifully quaint school in the heart of historic Birmingham, Alabama.  To say that the girls were excited to begin their freshman years of college would be an understatement!  Not only are they planning to head off to the colleges they committed to their Junior years but both girls have already begun to meet other freshman online and select their roommates.  When asked if they had any friends who were considering taking a gap year because of the COVID-19 pandemic the response was a simple no which should be reassuring for colleges around the country!

We then moved on to discussing the importance of communication on the part of administrators and employees of colleges.  Both Maddie and Sadie agreed that clear communication was key, especially with emails regarding future changes of plans or conceivable educational audibles.  There were some concerns about missing out on experiences that come with a great freshman year of college but had faith that campuses would make accommodations.  While both girls did express that communication was their number one necessity, it was clear they were not looking to be bombarded by unneeded content. In conclusion there were three big takeaways from our conversation with Maddie and Sadie.  The first takeaway is that both girls and all of their friends are still planning to head off to the colleges they have committed to in the Fall (Parents rejoice)!  The second noteworthy takeaway was that both girls strongly believed that communication was the key!  Without proper communication seeds of doubt can quickly grow into mounting concerns.  The third and final takeaway was that the girls felt communication about future plans and remote learning audibles such as an online orientation should be communicated concisely and with plenty of notice. The best way to understand college students living on campus is not to study statistics in a boardroom but to actually sit down and have a conversation about how they are thinking!