Episode Notes | Episode Transcript

Episode Notes

Episode Title: College News Fit to Digest. June 20, 2020

Episode summary introduction: Making sense of the College News of the week curated by Alma Matters. Coronavirus continues to drive the news. Shveta Bagade, College Counselor gives us her take on the news.

Topics discussed in this episode:

  • Students are changing their college plans [1:21]
  • COVID-19 Testing on Campuses [3:28]
  • Top US Colleges also go Test Optional. What next? [5:23]

Our Guest: Shveta Bagade, College Counselor based in Silicon Valley California.

Resources referred to in this episode:

Episode Transcript: Please visit almamatters.io/podcasts.


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Episode Transcript

Transcript of the episode’s audio.

Venkat  0:11 

Hello, and welcome to yet another episode of College News Fit to Digest. Every week, we pick a few news items relating to US Colleges and discuss it with our own Shveta Bagade, College Counselor. Alma Matters curates the news daily relating to US Colleges, and makes it available on alma matters.io/coronavirus. We pick a few news items from that curated list, and discuss it every week here in these podcasts. Now, without further ado, on with the podcast!

Venkat 0:59

Hey Shveta!

Shveta  1:01  

Good morning!

Venkat 1:02

Good morning. How are you today?

Shveta  1:05  

Pretty good. How are you?

Venkat 1:07

Doing well. Thanks.

Venkat  1:10  

Okay, so we've got a little bit of a full plate here. So let's just jump right into it.

Shveta 1:18

All right. Sounds great.

Venkat  1:21  [Students are changing their college plans]

Um. So let's see. So no particular order I while the news items that flashed by was that a good number of high school graduates are changing their college plans from what they had envisioned maybe even three months ago. So, any thoughts on that?

Shveta  1:43  

Oh, yeah. So a lot of students even if you go back to April time where students are deciding their admissions, schools that they normally weren't considering because they were close to home are now considering them. Their financial situation has changed because of their family finances being impacted by the pandemic. And then there's some there are some students who are just, you know, they're thinking, I want to have the normal typical college experience. So they decided to kind of put it off. And then they talked to universities about deferring or possibly going to community college and transferring those kinds of things. There's a lot of different ways this is looking, but there are it's definitely substantial numbers of students that are revisiting, because of everything that's happening.

Venkat  2:43  

Yeah, I think that numbers quite staggering. Almost 50% of the students have changed their plans, apparently. So it's quite significant.

Okay, I mean, I guess I and I guess it'll still keep changing until colleges decide what they want to do.

Shveta  3:01  

I think until COVID kind of calms down, and a vaccine or something happens, that are a better understanding of how its spread and those kinds of things. Until that happens, I think this is gonna continue to be the issue for each class.

Venkat  3:28  [COVID-19 Testing on Campuses]

[Another] item that's making news or at least concerns about can the colleges actually conduct extensive COVID-19 testing? I mean, they're all talking about getting, you know, thousands of students or 10s of thousands of students back on campus. And so there's this big question of, would they be able to manage the logistics, considering they've really not done anything like this before?

Shveta  3:54  

Yeah, I mean, this is a this is a multifaceted problem because you have universities have facilities or access to facilities, they may have a med school or hospital nearby that they can work with.

But then you think of some of these universities that are much smaller that that's not possible, then you have to consider cost of doing this, whether it's 5000 students, 10,000 students, or even some of these universities that are thousand students. It's definitely an extra burden that you're not anticipating.

And then, of course, universities are going through financial situations because of the COVID. And then the, the number one question that keeps popping up in my mind is what does that look like after you've done your first round of testing? Do you continue to test? Who do you test, things like that? And then of course, there's the actual results of the test. So once you get your results, what are you doing with those students who are positive and You know, that becomes symptomatic. So there's, there's so many different issues going on. I think the larger universities with medical, you know, facilitate access to medical facilities to be able to do this testing, but I think the smaller ones are not going to be able to do that.

Venkat  5:23  [Top US Colleges also go Test Optional. What next?]

Meanwhile, some of the, you know, this whole fallout from the COVID 19 is, tests going optional and all the Ivies now as of today, I believe even Princeton's joined the test optional bandwagon. And I guess around 200 of the colleges have decided to be test optional. So this is becoming a pretty much, a big movement.

Shveta  5:51  

Yeah, I think it's that list is much longer. Yeah. 200 um, I actually did not hear Princeton as of last night, but I know MIT is still kind of wavering out there. I know, Northwestern is waving out there. But it looks like you know, some of these big name universities from Harvard to Stanford, Georgetown, Johns Hopkins, Carnegie Mellon, they're all going at minimum, one year test optional.

And so it then makes you wonder, what's going to happen to testing. In general, as they start to analyze their data there. These universities are going to look at that closely. For sure I, the UCs [University of California] have been very, very public about it, the University of California system where they're saying, we're going to look at this method for a few years. They're gonna analyze their data and they're gonna make some big decisions about making that a permanent decision. They're considering creating their own time. which I personally would prefer that they did not. The students don't need another thing to have to deal with.

But um, it's it's definitely making the universities revisit everything. And I think a big drive of this was the SCT folks and the AC t folks being not being able to do this remotely.

Venkat  7:23  

Right. Right. Yeah. I mean, you know, the point that you just touched on, which is the broader sort of look at, do we need admission tests, SAT or ACT doing for us  kind of question. I hope it doesn't lead to each college doing its own thing, which is going to create, you know, 5000 different tests to get into colleges. And that's going to become quite a unmanageable problem for the students and families.

Unknown Speaker  7:58  

Yeah, I mean, I'm hoping that as well. I mean, they all have the, the, I think the perk, I guess is most of these universities belong to a credit, you know, they have accreditation, so that would play a big part in that as well. So hopefully, it wouldn't go to what you're talking about is that, you know, different tests for different states or different college systems, things like that.

So I don't, I haven't, I'm not expecting that. But what I'm really expecting to are honestly hoping to see is that these universities look very closely at the correlation of their students being admitted without the SAT scores and seeing their, lack of a better phrase, just how they how successful they are in their respective college.

Venkat  9:02  

Yeah, you know, it just means that they would have to look at their applications differently, evaluate somewhat differently, and also have more qualitative than quantitative sort of information, assuming that the tests were providing them with some good amount of quantitative information.

Shveta  9:23

Exactly. Exactly.

Venkat 9:27

Okay, so, you know, without, I guess three months ago, we wouldn't have known that so many changes were going to take place.

Well, it looks like there's some real structural changes afoot. And I also think colleges on campus in-class, that whole thing is going to get reconfigured, I think permanently as well. So you know, so that's a lot of fallout still to come, but hopefully good. Hopefully a lot of good stuff comes out of it as well.

Shveta  10:00  

Definitely, we're looking for silver lining. So hopefully some of these things will, you know, it will force universities to look at everything a little bit more closely. So should be interesting over the next few months. And obviously things are changing by the week. So let's see what happens next week.

Venkat  10:17  


So once again, thank you so much for your insights. And I will talk to you next week.

Shveta  10:26  

Yeah, absolutely. My pleasure. Definitely. Take care.

Venkat  10:29  

You too.

Shveta  10:31

Bye. Bye.

Venkat  10:38

Hi again, hope you enjoyed this conversation with Shveta Bagade on this week's College News Fit to Digest. Stay connected with us by Subscribing to Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts or Spotify or visit anchor.fm forward slash almamatters [anchor.fm/almamatters].

These podcasts are brought to you by almamatters.io. Till we meet again, take care and be safe.

Thank you.

Summary Keywords

College, Universities, Test Optional, Princeton University, SAT, ACT, Campus, International students, Alma Matters, podcasts, Ivy League

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