Episode Notes | Episode Transcript

Episode Notes

Episode Title: College News Fit to Digest. May 16, 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:

  • California State Universities decide to go Online this Fall  [1:40]
  • AP Online Test Bugs [7:11]
  • Big Drop in Graduate Students [10:13]

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  0:06  

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!


Hey Shveta!

Shveta  1:00  

Good Morning Venkat.  How are you?

Venkat  1:01  

I'm doing great. How are you?

Shveta  1:03  

Not too bad.

Venkat  1:06  

Okay, here we are again.

Venkat  1:09  

Seems like I was just talking to you yesterday. So well, as usual, things are moving along lots of news.

And so I guess in normal times, this is what mid May so kids will be getting ready to either be planning out their fall semester or traveling to school, this that the other. These are different times. So, So well, we have a few things to talk about today.

Venkat  1:40  [California State Universities decide to go Online this Fall]

The first I guess the big news is the, the California State University system deciding to go all online this fall, and the UCs [University of California] making some noises in that direction as well.

So what do you think of those?

Shveta  1:57  

Well, it's interesting because the California State system, apparently I did not realize this, it's the biggest university system in the country. Though. It's big news when that happens.

One of the things that's going to be interesting is how each campus is going to implement their version of the hybrid-online kind of model. That's what we are looking at.

And some of the campuses that are on quarter systems, I believe Cal Poly San Luis Obispo is on quarter system, they are holding off a little bit on what their final decision is going to be, on what's, like, so it's definitely the, the CSU system as a whole would like each campus to go in some model like that, but every campus is going to be handling it differently.

And the UCs are getting ready to kind of make a similar announcement for their campuses as well. Well, so it should be interesting how this plays out. And I think students are starting to wrap their heads around what their first quarter/semester is going to be looking like now that if they're already committed to a school and one of those systems.

Venkat  3:20  

Hmm. It is going to be different. What about the UCs? What are you hearing about that?

Shveta  3:25  

UCs are there, the rumor mill, per se is kind of thinking it's gonna be similar announcement to the California State system, and they also have the same issues I have. A couple of schools Berkeley [UC Berkeley], Merced [UC Merced] are on semesters, which means they start earlier, they tend to start in August. And the rest of the UCs for undergrad start in, on quarters, so that tends to be mid to late September.

So it gives those schools on quarter systems a little bit more time. Little bit breathing room to kind of figure it out or maybe even, you know, with, you know, keeping my fingers crossed, change direction, with the schools on semesters are kind of forced to really start thinking about how this looks. And I would say probably all the schools in the state system and the UC system are doing orientation for their freshmen, Online. That's definite. So everything is happening online for the summer.

Venkat  4:37  

Now, a question I had is, you know, let's say some of these colleges decide to do a hybrid, which I guess is some mix of online and in class. Let's, does a student get to basically choose and say that I'm going to go online entirely, or are, is each student going to have to do the hybrid part as well. Not quite clear whether that, the hybrid means that, or it just means that we're going to have a mix of the two things, for different students.

Shveta  5:09  

That's one of the questions that's kind of floating out there, like, what is that going to look like?

And I think it's going to be based on facilities. And it's based on classes. So the type of class where you are, maybe need a laboratory, for instance, those are going to be probably more or like an art class or these theater type classes. They're going to be more of a hybrid. They're leaning in that direction.

I don't think students get to choose what it's going to look like when you have schools that are, you know, anywhere from eight [8000] to 30,000 undergrads, you have to kind of go with what's mandated. But every campus has different facilities, and they have to figure out how much they can do the hybrid and how much they they can't. You think of smaller colleges. There are some private schools in California that have announced that they're going in-person on campus. You know, like a school like Chapman University, Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, they are announcing those things, but they're significantly smaller, they have more space. And they're private. So they do a little bit more flexibility with their funding and things like that.

So there's a lot of things that come into factors in trying to make those decisions. But the students are going to have to kind of figure out which courses are going to take in this kind of mode and hope that the spring or winter things change and go back to a little bit of that face to face in person campus environment that they're hoping to be in.

Venkat  6:55  

Okay, well, a lot of change.

Shveta  6:57  


Venkat  7:00  

Moving on to the next topic here. So I guess the APs started this week, was it went online?

Shveta  7:11  [AP Online Test Bugs]

No, they went online Monday and they continue into next week.

So this should be really interesting, for the future of AP tests and the College Board as a whole, and what it looks like for current students and future students and for colleges accepting the scores.

So right now, you know, the College Board is really promoting how well things are going. But it's not 100% success. So you have the number that's floating out there right now is about 10% of students that are just not having success, and which, and what I mean by that is, they are not able to upload their umm, their pictures what they did for the test, or they're not able to continue into, it's broken up into two parts. So they're not able to continue to the second part. And then you get timed out, since it's only about, I think 45 or 50 minutes.

So there's a lot of stress for these current juniors and seniors and maybe some sophomores that are taking these AP tests. And they aren't, they have the option to retake in June. But that adds more stress to the student in reading to be done and keeping the knowledge fresh, which means I have to continue studying and it's a, it's going to be questionable how this looks in the future for APs.

And I think it's going to impact students who are enrolled to take AP classes for next year. If they're even going to sign up for the test. They might just take the class for the rigor and for the challenge of the class, but realize the test is not going to be meaningful to them. And that will be dictated by colleges stating that whether they're going to continue accepting an online kind of score situation.

So there's a lot of fallout from this online testing from AP and the College Board and should be interesting how this all plays out.

Venkat  9:23  

I guess this is one of those cases where good enough is not good enough, right?

Shveta  9:28  

That is so true right now.

Venkat  9:32  

Okay, so, so this goes on for another week or so right. The APs get done the end of next week?

Shveta  9:38  

The official schedule ends next Friday. And then there's another like what they were, they're calling up the makeup week, which is I find interesting that they already had it scheduled. So yeah. So they have that. I believe it's the first week in June, that they get to sign up for that. If they don't submit the test, they have to sign up for that if they want to retake it.

Venkat  10:13  [Big Drop in Graduate Students]

Okay, then the last topic for the day, something that not very many people are paying attention to is the likelihood of grad students enrollment dropping this fall.

And what do you think of that? And what have you heard about that?

Shveta  10:34  

Well, you know, it's interesting that you say that it's not big and it should be, because it's, it impacts a lot of industries that have students that go into graduate, whether it's for their PhD, medical school, law school, and so it's, it's interesting that it hasn't really been promoted. said that, it's, I think there's going to be this big domino effect of what grad schools continue to offer, for graduate programs if they see their enrollment numbers to go down over the next year or so.

And then the availability of programs as well to students. So if the, if there are fewer students applying into programs, this could open up for those that are still willing to kind of stick it out and go for it, kind of thing into programs that they may not have had a strong chance of getting into.

So there's a lot of issues that are surrounded by that. I wish there was more coverage on it. Right? Because there are students who are very even right now as an undergrad their, that's their end game is to go to grad school and so it's going to be they're going to be impacted by programs either shrinking or just going away 100%, you know, completely. So.

Venkat  12:07  

Yeah, I think I guess, is driven by two factors, right.

One is just the funding for various programs being at a lower level because of the crisis. And the second big factor is really that roughly 50% of the graduate students are international students. And with, you know, with the various travel bans, and visa issues, and just all around travel advisories, that might also be the other reason for a drop.

So, So yeah, but you're right. I mean, I think I think it is such a foundational thing that it probably needs more coverage and more awareness and that way, maybe encourage more people to get back and go to grad school.

Shveta  12:58  

So definitely, it should be Interesting, because this is an election year. And if our president does not current president does not get reelected, this could shift a little bit. Assuming you know, the current pandemic also goes in a, in a positive direction, meaning it, you know, on social distancing is lightened up and shelter in place things type of confinement issues are going away. There could be a, almost, an upswing as well. But right now the universities are seeing a downturn. And so they're just, students, for good reason are skeptical.

Venkat  13:44  

Yeah, I mean, everyone's being driven by fear. So at this point, they're not much rational discussion that one can have.

Shveta 13:53

Very true.

Venkat 13:54

Okay! So on that note, I think this was a good discussion on a variety of topics, but sort of look at something new as well. So, like always, thank you for being there for us and I will talk to you soon.

Shveta  14:11  

Thank you for having me. I'm looking forward to what next week gives us.

Venkat  14:15

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.

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