There are some colleges that are already doing that work to the best of their ability. Take the University of California at Riverside, which within a week of closing campus offered students continued housing, gave out free laptops and tablets, and (most importantly) cut tuition costs
. Maybe the college was more adept at meeting those needs because it already prioritized supporting low-income and first-generation students. It enrolls more Pell Grant recipients than the entire Ivy League combined
The future I want to see has to be one where colleges across the board care more about helping those kinds of students, and it’s clear to me that that comes with having those students on your campus to begin with. And that brings us to admissions, the corner of higher education where coronavirus is causing some of the most noticeable changes. I’ve seen it said that college admissions will never look the same, and to that I say, it’s about time.
As the SAT and ACT move online, colleges left and right are doing away with
requirements for standardized test scores, and suddenly this process that has for so long been painted as impossible to change, is changing. With any luck this is just the beginning in a shift away from the standardized tests across the board. As we do away with this unnecessary barrier, let’s start thinking big about what admissions can look like in the future.
I hope that looks like active recruitment in inner-city and rural communities, putting less emphasis on demonstrated interest, and caring more about college outcomes than college rankings. (Getting rid of legacy admissions wouldn’t hurt either.)
By the time college students return to campus, whether that be in the fall or in 2021, I hope they’ll be doing it at institutions that’ve learned from this experience and built policies to reflect that. Ideally that’ll be in classrooms where accessibility is prioritized, and with professors who’re being supported by their administrations. I hope they’ll feel like they’re pursuing their education in a system that supports them, not treats them like streams of revenue.
Thanks for reading,
A quick note:
We’re not yet living in the future I’m imagining, so for most of us our energy is better spent in trying to ease the burdens of the people around us as best we can. If you’ve got the time or money, please consider inching us toward a better future by donating to Hope4College’s COVID-19 student relief fund
, donating technology
to students in need
, or offering support and mentorship to the first-generation college students in your life.