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Episode Notes

Episode Title: College News Fit to Digest. November 23, 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:

  • Faculty and Career Exploration [1:53]
  • Early Apps Rise, Regulars Fall [7:06]

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

Resources referred to in this episode:

Episode Transcript: Please visit Episode Transcript.


Episode Transcript

Transcript of the episode’s audio.

Venkat  0:12 

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 1:00

Hey Shveta!

Shveta  1:02  

Hello, Venkat. How are you today?

Venkat  1:03  

Good. You. Good?

Shveta  1:06  

I’m getting ready for the holiday. So action.

Venkat  1:10  

Yeah, yeah, something to look forward to.

Shveta  1:12  

That's right.

Venkat  1:16  

Cool. So thanks for making the time this morning, I thought we could discuss a couple of topics one, slightly different from what we've been talking about.

So there's been some articles around career exploration in college and seemingly, students and folks around are getting frustrated with the way it's going or the way it's being run. So it's a pretty important topic.

So what do you think are your thoughts on it?

Shveta  1:53  [Faculty and Career Exploration]

I think it's an interesting one.

Because when you look at schools, you know, when the students are looking at schools, a lot of them will look at research opportunities, internship opportunities, and they're focusing more on those kinds of things, which, you know, as, as it should be, but there should be some focus on what do the professors do? Enlighten the kid.

Um, and, you know, I've, I've actually had conversations with other people about this. And one of the concerns is a lot of these professors even though they're tied to industry, they're not in industry, have a clear cut understanding of what's really demanded of the job, just that they're, they have a better understand what's needed to learn for some of these jobs.

So it is interesting to see that this is kind of finally, in my mind, finally coming to light a little bit, and having people recognize that maybe the colleges, particularly the professor's could be doing a little bit more to talk about, like, potential job opportunities in, in that major in that subject matter, whatever is appropriate, even for the students that take General Ed classes.

Venkat  3:14  

Mm hmm.

Shveta  3:14  

You know, it doesn't have to be just a class they have to take and get through it and be done. It could be a class that could open up their eyes to other opportunities, or maybe something about that class can complement what they plan on majoring in or industry they plan on working in.

Venkat  3:33  

So are we saying that professors should act more like mentors for students is that sort of…

Shveta  3:39  

I know, time would be an issue, but you know, at least incorporate that in part of the curriculum. I'm not expecting them to, you know, sit down with each student and talk about like, what they should and shouldn't do, but they can at least explore different pathways of the subject that they're studying about, or the major that they're leaning towards, kind of thing.

Otherwise, the students are kind of left on their own to this, there's, you know, career, you know, centers at these universities, but I think most students just think they should already know. Mm hmm. And they don't realize that they really need to take advantage of those resources and maybe even push those resources to give them information that they're looking for.

Venkat  4:33  


But it's also true that most of the faculty you know, really doesn't have any experience as you said that the industry itself directly, right. Personal or first hand experience.

So unless they are tied to or doing a lot of work in those, which, which may be true for a lot of vocational oriented sort of disciplines, but you know, probably bought, the fundamental stuff might be a little harder to find that kind of connection.

But, but you're right. I mean, I think I think there is. Absolutely, they are a great resource with great connections for potentially, to help help students and more than anything, figure out how, or what to you know, how to navigate this whole thing, you know, how to how to end up making a decision around..

Shveta  5:28  

Yeah. I want to add one thing that yes, it is, you know, as, um, industries claim that they like liberal arts degrees and things like that, I think that's where it becomes really crucial in having that guidance to show the value of that liberal arts degree.

Why this is going to be, because when you look at parents, people, especially people in, in our age group, where we're just very traditional, you know, you major in something, and that's your career, there's not through understanding of how a liberal arts degree can open up different paths.

So a lot of these schools that are liberal arts degrees focused or offer the Bachelors of Arts versus the Bachelors of Science, they need to really kind of be proactive in that to really engage the students in that opportunity. Otherwise, they're not going to be sold on it.

Venkat  6:26  

Got it. Got it. No, I think I think that's absolutely true. I mean, I think the liberal arts imperative is very clear. I mean, as, as you need to, you know, wait even more as we go forward. I mean, a lot of those, the classics, for example, can be a huge inspiration.

So. So yeah, cool. I think I think, let's sort of watch this. And maybe there's some opportunities here to explore more on the topics around this, how colleges and career and faculty can intersect.

Venkat  7:06  [Early Apps Rise, Regulars Fall]

The next topic that, a news item, I should say, is around college applications. So there seem to be two interesting threads. One is that applications seem to have for the Fall 2021 season, I assume, has kind of gone up. Whereas, I guess, right now, based on Common App numbers, that college is the regular applicants are down. So how do you how do you kind of explain that,

Shveta  7:44  

um, that's where the divide will start to increase, you know, students that are doing, you know, the early applications, I've even read that there's a pretty big rise in early decision, even without ever visiting the campus. It, I think those tend to be the students who are, you know, education is, is a primary focus of what they're doing. Their parents are prepared or have, you know, really, you know, give them some, some guidance of supporting them financially, mentally through the process, you know, especially if they come from families that are already college educated. Mm hmm. Okay.

I think that impacts a lot of these students to say, I, I need to get these done. One move forward. I want to get my name in the system and start getting some replies back and figuring out what my next step is for college. Mm hmm.

On the flip side, students that are not applying as much this year, there's a drop, you know, they tend to be the first gen students, low income, underrepresented minorities, students that require fee waivers.

So there, and what's happening there is they're probably much more impacted by what's happening with COVID, personally. A family member that's not able to work. Maybe they're forced to work because of financial needs, hours being cut by, you know, the adults in their life. So they're looking at colleges, not the priority. Right.

And I have, I have spoken to a couple of students, I volunteer at our local public schools, my local neighborhood public school, and we have, we have that wide variety of students. And we really try to encourage those students that are first gen, are underrepresented population to at least apply to a couple.

Venkat  9:53  

Mm hmm.

Shveta  9:54  

Um, and, you know, we have advisors that help them with the fee waivers and things like that. Because what we're trying to encourage for all students is have options. Right? When March comes around how you feel in November may not be how you feel in March.

So we're really trying to encourage those kids, but it's hard to because they've got these other things that are kind of weighing on them, how am I going to pay for this? This is a lot of money, where, under normal circumstances, that's an issue.

But there could be some opportunities to help do it with Covid, and not really seeing a light at the tunnel yet. I think that impacts how they view college as maybe not the immediate priority, something they can do later, kind of thing.

Venkat  10:45  

Oh, that makes perfect sense. That makes perfect sense. I mean, I think, actually, basically, very simple folks, where there's a lot of uncertainty, there, obviously, pushing it out up to the point of not doing it at all, versus the ones who are, you know, well resourced, and, you know, have a reasonable degree of control over their finances and things of that nature, and obviously, driven towards the side of getting educated, or getting college educated. I mean, that makes sense.

And also, you know, one other Covid factor might be that people have a little more time on their hands, so to speak. And so applying early is easier to get done than in normal times, I would imagine to. So, you know, as somebody that's a combination of those things, I don't know, I'm just speculating.

So cool. So what's the So this year, the 2020, enrollments were put down by some this good number in certain colleges. It went up for, you know, so it was sort of uneven across the board. But I think overall, as a, as an industry, I think it went down, with a whole bunch of deferment. And so I'm guessing that that might be another motivation for people to apply early. And maybe the competition is pretty high in the regular pool.

Shveta  12:16  

Well, and I also, I also think, what's impacting that applying early, just from my time with the students I work with, along with the students I volunteer for, is they have the time. Sure.

You know, they're the things that were keeping them ultra busy, and actually over to some point, even over extended, is not looking the same, and it's much more manageable, they're not driving to school, they don't have sports after school, they don't have, excuse me, they don't have certain activities that are pretty time consuming.

And so this is kind of in their face. And I think that's impacting that as well. And along with the, you know, the uncertainties of everything, they feel like if they apply sooner, they'll know sooner, and then they can make some start really making some decisions on, Yeah, what they want to do for college.

Venkat  13:15  

I mean, that makes sense. That makes sense.

Cool. So that's good.

I think these were two, I mean, I think the second one is sort of an uneven news item. neither positive nor negative, I think at this point neutral, but the first one is sort of a different thing. But I think it's a good opportunity to there's a solution, which if we can figure out how to get faculty involved, I think that would be a lot better for the students.

So good. so fantastic. As usual, thank you and have a great Thanksgiving. And we will catch up again next Monday.

Shveta  13:58  

Thank you, you enjoy your holiday too.

Venkat  14:00

Thank you. Take care. Bye.

Venkat  14:01

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, Test Blind, University of California, Deferment, Gap Year, Fall enrollment, College Application Calendar 2020, Common App, Common App Essay, Supplementals, FAFSA, Early Action, Alma Matters, Podcasts, Ivy League, Fall Reopening, COVID-19, Coronavirus.

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