Colleges have really boosted their online presence as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. One outcome that many colleagues hope will stick is the meaningful virtual connections between colleges and students that will help bridge the access and distance barriers. Having interviews, tours, and open houses online can help all students learn more about colleges without worrying about the logistics and cost of travel.
DVFriends uses SCOIR to help our students with their virtual searches. We also utilize the YouScience career assessment tool as part of our SCOIR curriculum. This helps students explore a range of careers and majors that may suit them academically and socially.
The college search process during COVID-19 has also affected how students and families make decisions about their plans. While there is an element of trust and a leap of faith, students and parents can be informed consumers by engaging with the colleges via the multiple platforms available. Asking questions about how classes are taught and what supports are available to students may help ease the transition and inform the decision to enroll or take a step back. These supports can be academic in nature, but also supports that help ease the selection and transition emotional component. Transitioning to college is a big step for all students, and those students who have just lived through a year of virtual learning and dramatic upheaval due to COVID-19 have additional emotional considerations. By empowering students to think about their emotions in addition to their academic success, we can help them become more successful self-advocates. It’s also important to recognize and validate student and parent anxiety in this process. We can remind our young people that they are not bound to a single path. They can change their plans and change their paths with care and thoughtful consideration.