Episode Notes | Episode Transcript

Episode Notes

Episode Title: College News Fit to Digest. June 6, 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:

  • US Colleges Fall Reopening - Senate hearing  [1:47]
  • SAT Online Test - A No Go! [8:21]

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

Resources referred to in this episode:

Episode Transcript: Please visit almamatters.io/podcasts.


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!

Shveta  1:01  

Good morning.

Venkat  1:02  

Good morning, Shveta, doing very well, very well. Welcome to Episode Seven, I believe so. Excellent. Moving forward here.

Okay so, I guess we'll just get right into it.

Venkat  1:21  

I think the, the first thing or the big news, I guess is the fact that a bunch of college leaders met with the senate committee or subcommittee yesterday, and they discussed colleges reopening in fall. So, looks like there were a lot of topics and points that they were that they raised. So what do you think of those?

Shveta  1:47  [US Colleges Fall Reopening - Senate hearing]

Well, it goes back to just the whole general process of applying to colleges. It just depends. every college is in a different State. They are, each State is handling the Coronavirus as they see fit for their State. And I think the universities are kind of following suit.

So I think Purdue, the president of Purdue was there. And they've been very public very early on, that they're going to go on campus, and they're looking at it, sounds like they're going to be doing some testing. But they're not necessarily set up to test everybody yet. So it should be interesting how that will play out for them.

And of course, we know testing students, whether it's a small school or big school is an additional amount of money that they were not necessarily ready to spend. So there's a two fold problem for most of these schools is - the, the facilities to test all the students and then the financial impact of testing all the studies. If that's their desire, so there are some schools I know Brown is, was also at that hearing as well. They're looking to on test accordingly and have things, they're testing in priority, their faculty, their elderly faculty students at high risk, which makes sense.

I know it was not addressed at the hearing but University of Arizona went on the news as well. saying they're testing their entire faculty and students as they come onto campus. They are going to have facility ready for students that actually not just test positive for Coronavirus but have symptoms of Coronavirus.

So every university is going to be handling this differently. And then, of course, what wasn't addressed at the hearing was the schools that are making adjustments in trying to work around some of these things, Starting earlier, and ending at Thanksgiving going online after Thanksgiving, things like that.

So there's a lot of different factors that are coming into play here. And it goes back to the whole thing of Coronavirus. It's a wait and see kind of thing, unfortunately.

Venkat  4:20  

Yeah. And then there's the added sort of exposure in terms of liabilities, right? If a student comes in and is infected, they can sue the college or the university and, you know, colleges don't want to be liable.

Shveta  4:36  

Oh, yeah, I didn't even address that. So, yes.

And that's, that's a, that's a very muddy thing that they're getting into, like how, what happens to in university, if something like that were to actually come through, so it's not addressed as much as it should be. But then I think, some I think, I actually think parents and students, especially those that are not high risk, are almost willing to kind of take the gamble, unfortunately. So we'll see how this plays out. And hopefully there aren't lawsuits on universities because that can make universities go bankrupt.

Venkat  5:25  

Yeah, I mean, you know, the, so that's sort of one, one issue for them.

The other one, which they're all worried about is that even if, let's say, obviously, testing is good contact tracing and all that, you know, following up on those things are great. But then when you find that someone does politics, then you have to, you know, quarantine them and then create a separate area for that, for those people. And, you know, whether it's on campus off campus, what have you, I mean, so you kind of have to manage all that.

So it's It's something that they're not used to doing. I mean, universities are not hospitals or, you know, care centers, right? I mean, so they really cannot do that. So, you know, a lot of challenges quite orthogonal to their general DNA. Right?

Venkat  6:18  

And so, I think I think parents, what do you, what do you, what would you advise parents and students to do? I mean, what's the way for them to think about this as they deal with this, as they look at all this and try to make sense of it?

Shveta  6:33  

Well, I am a parent who is going to be going through this, in the fall. And we are, I think, at this point, parents have to, there's a comfort that they have to be satisfied with for themselves and their student. And of course, the student has to be comfortable as well. And then kind of weigh out what the university is doing to help mitigate, you know, the spread of the virus like the social distancing, mask, you know, hygiene accessibility to, you know, hand washing stations and sanitizers and things like that.

And of course, you know, if you're living on campus, the number one thing would be living and eating arrangements. So definitely look closely at how they're looking to handle that. If they're allowing you some flexibility,  maybe you're okay with them living on campus, but then you would like them to be able to maybe manage their own food, and maybe not necessarily be required to be on the meal plan, for instance, which is typically typical of most universities, that requirement.

So I would look at all the different variables that you're already worried about. And then add in all these other factors with the COVID and kind of find the path that works for you.

Venkat  8:00  

That sounds good. That's a good, good sound advice, actually. So, so cool.

Um, let's see, I think there's going to be obviously more stuff coming out as we get closer to fall. So,...

Shveta  8:14  

I anticipate July to be really busy.

Venkat  8:21  [SAT Online Test - A No Go!]

Great. The, I guess the other big news item for the week, at least from what I thought was, College Board suspending the at-home SATs. And that, what's the backstory on that? And, you know, what does that mean?

Shveta  8:38  

Yeah, so I think College Board really kind of got blindsided. They were not prepared for all the issues that happened with their AP - advanced placement exams. And those advanced placement exams were only an hour like they're 50 minutes, and they did not anticipate all the complications that come along with that.

Reliability of internet access, the reliability of people's own personal devices, the ages of devices, some people's systems and things like that we're probably not up to date, or rent, that kind of thing. And I think after looking at all those factors, they realize how do we implement a three hour plus test without having those issues come into play.

And so College Board, basically, in a weird way, conceded defeat, and said, we can't do an online on in-home testing effectively without these issues being resolved, and they can't resolve that for every individual.

So it should be interesting where some of the more selective schools that have been kind of holding out about making test optional they're going to have to make some hard decisions about whether they're going to move forward in their current admissions process, or they're gonna make at least the fall on the next senior class not be required to have SAT.

Venkat  10:20  

Yes. 2021, Right? You mean Fall 2021?

Shveta  10:23  

Yeah. And there's definitely selective schools that are on that path. I know Columbia is there, NYU is there, Dartmouth is there. So I anticipate over the next few weeks, more of those universities that are very selective in their admissions that will be following suit as well.

Shveta  10:46  

At least I hope so.

Venkat  10:48  

Yeah, I mean, I think that I think, you know, one of the one of the things that this online, the move to online that the colleges made over the last semester, spring semester, has shown that, you know, online, isn't that ubiquitous, right?

I mean, there is. It's, there are large pockets of the student population that didn't have access to good, robust bandwidth and internet access. So I think that is going to be a challenge for standardized tests and things are less time to do this online. I mean, and plus they have other issues, the length of the test may have to change or they may have to do it in three installments. And yeah, they will, they will change the nature of things. So anyway, so I guess that's something not happening in 2020. At least, So that's, it's good to be final about something.

Venkat  11:47  

Okay, cool. So I think

Venkat  11:50  

I think we'll, you know, keep tabs on the college and fall, but on this topic, I think we are probably done and there'll be probably SAT, College Board might have some more dates, you think they might have to open up some more dates for testing, physical testing?

Shveta  12:07  

So SAT did add September.

I think the challenge right now is they're trying to accommodate all those students that weren't able to take the test in March, May and June. And so they're dealing with the repercussions of that.

And I think ACT is also in a similar boat. I don't know if ACT has added additional dates yet, in the fall, but it, there's a problem, It's not just as simple. Just add another date. It's finding facilities and then doing the social distancing. Because each state is in a different place. Very complex problem.

Venkat  12:48  

Yeah. And a simple level, they need three times the number of locations if you were to do physical distancing, assuming you know if you allow one in three to sit in a room right?

Shveta 12:59

Exactly! Exactly!

Venkat  13:01  

Finding that is pretty hard.

Shveta  13:04  

Definitely. Well, another interesting week.

Venkat  13:08  

I know we, I guess. I mean, you know, in a way it's good, keeps us all on our toes. So I would not complain too much, except if it was more fun stuff, It'd be a lot more fun to or enjoyable, rather than, you know, problems like this, but

Shveta  13:24  

Right, right.

Venkat  13:25  


Venkat  13:27  

Well, we'll keep on top of this, and let's stay tuned. And thank you again for doing this.

Shveta 13:34

My pleasure.

Venkat 13:35

And we'll talk soon. Take care.

Venkat  13:37  

Thanks. Bye.

Venkat  13:45

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, selective schools, AP, Advanced Placement Exams, podcasts, Fall, Online, Alma Matters,

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