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Updated: Nov 10, 2020

College is tough. College during COVID is tougher

College Connections During Covid

From selecting your classes to choosing a major, college is hard. And it has become even harder this year with colleges taking COVID precautions. Most schools are currently fully or mostly remote. In addition, the social interactions that make a college experience have been greatly decreased. Schools are even suspending or evicting students who are found hosting parties and large gatherings. But these precautions are all for student safety. As we enter the fall season, so far over 40,000 students have been diagnosed with COVID. In addition, numbers of cases are going up in several states, as we enter into flu season.

What to do

Even though these precautions are necessary, it does not take away the need for students to connect. There are several things that can be done, even remotely, to help students at this time. Social Media has already weighed in on this need and worked to help foster connection for college students. Facebook, for instance, has created Facebook Campus. This part of Facebook allows students to have separate Campus profiles from their regular Facebook profile. With these profiles, they can join school-specific groups and events, as well as access a campus directory and special chat rooms to stay connected with peers.

There are things colleges can do to increase student socialization. The American Association of Colleges and Universities provided the following list to make the remote college experience easier.

  • Build a college-wide culture of connection and caring.

  • Ensure that all new students experience orientation.

  • Ensure that all students meet with an advisor each term.

  • Design experiences to ensure that all students make personal connections with other students, faculty, and staff during their earliest contacts with the college.

  • Assign someone to serve as a primary contact for each new student (e.g., another student, advisor, success coach, mentor, etc.).

  • Talk with students about their outside commitments, responsibilities, and challenges.

  • Offer training for students on the use of technologies employed by the college, rather than assuming that they know how to use them.

  • Promote student connections with college support services such as tutoring or advising by integrating the services into courses.

  • Ensure that courses consistently incorporate engagement strategies that promote student-student and student-faculty interaction.

  • Find out if students have access to computers for uses related to their studies and assist them if they don’t (low-cost or loaned laptops, etc.).

  • Find out if students have reliable access to the internet, and assist them if they don’t (e.g., loaning Wi-Fi hotspots or expanding Wi-Fi in areas around college campus).

Finally, it's going to be important for students to build resilience during this time. This includes

  • Reaching out to others and maintaining those connections

  • Noticing their own triggers for stress

  • Exercise, sleeping and eating well

  • Seeking help if needed

We would love to hear from college students and educators right now. Tell us what you are doing to maintain connection and build resilience at this time. Your ideas could be helpful to another student.

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