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Episode Notes

Episode Title: College News Fit to Digest. September 18, 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:

  • Purdue Fall Enrollment is up! [1:50]
  • Colleges that are getting the Fall Reopening right [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!

Shveta  0:59


Venkat  1:01  

Hi Shveta. Good morning.

Shveta  1:03  

How are you doing?

Venkat  1:05  

I'm doing well. You?

Shveta 1:07  

Just plugging away as usual.

Venkat  1:11  

Well, that's all we can do. Plug away.

Venkat  1:15  


So let's get going. Then. I think a couple of topics we're talking about, I guess.

The first one was interesting, I don't know, maybe it's an exception, there are very few of such universities, I mean, Purdue [University], sort of announced their fall enrollment numbers, and they were up.

While it seemed like conventional wisdom was that this was going to be kind of a down year. So, how did they do this magic?

Shveta  1:50  [Purdue Fall Enrollment is up!]

Yeah, I mean, I know they want to, they have overcome COVID. But I don't think that's what happened.

Their numbers, if you look at the numbers, that they are projecting their numbers were already on the uptick, prior to COVID.

And I, I, you know, obviously, this is an educated guess. I mean, their numbers continue to go up, despite COVID because of their initial commitment to going online, or to going in person not online.

And, you know, sadly enough, there are students out there, I even had a few students who were picking schools because of how they were going to do campus. If it was going online, they shied away from that school. And if they were going in person, they started leaning more towards that way, instead of looking at all the other attributes.

So, um, if I think if students got into Purdue, they were going in, if they, you know, put it as a potential, and maybe they maybe they turned it down, then they called back and said, I changed my mind. It's possible Purdue said, “Sure no problem. Of course, we'll take you”, kind of thing. “We accepted you.”

 So I don't know, it's, it's a crazy thing, because there are other schools that are seeing their enrollment numbers go down. Purdue is a little bit unusual, in general, because it is such a big school, as well. I believe it's over 30,000. undergrad, so it does definitely go against the conventional expectation, especially with COVID happening.

Venkat  3:40  

Yeah, I mean, it's..

I think what you just mentioned is interesting that students were, you know, almost picking schools that were likely to do in-class, as opposed to online for the fall semester, as a huge criterion for going there.

So yeah, I mean, I guess if there are, there, obviously, which student doesn't want to be on campus? And so, so that definitely makes sense.

But yeah, but I think I think there is also I mean, they are in Indiana, I think the general, I don't know what percentage of the students come from within the state. But that also probably has a lot to do with that because that particular state, depending on how they dealt with COVID, which, they I don't think they were that badly affected. Right?

So right. So that may also have contributed to the numbers. Yeah, so but you know, that I don't know of any other school or college that, that is at that level, or at least is boasting of higher numbers, and most of them have either been flat or maybe below.

Right? I mean, is there any other school that stands out like this?

Shveta  5:01  

Not that I've read anywhere. And that's an interesting question.

But I think I would also think that is consistent with how over the summer, a majority of schools were kind of waiting as long as possible to make decisions about whether they're going to do Hmm. Then hybrid, online online with living on campus online, no one living on campus. So a lot of different models that universities could have, you know, experimented with it.

I think they were waiting, hoping for COVID-19 to finally subside a little bit. And, you know, Purdue kind of said, we're not waiting to hear what's happening, we're confident that that's gonna happen, and they have testing on campus. And, and they're, you know, enforcing all those things. I, I do know, they are really coming down hard on students who get caught partying and things like that.

So they're, it's not just a fluke kind of thing. They're also trying to keep, you know, their numbers down as well. And I think, between being in Indiana, like you said, it's a small city, isolated from everybody else, but they do get a fair percentage of students from out of state. So it's, yeah, it's hard to kind of gauge.

Venkat  6:33  

Sure. Yeah, I was just thinking that as you were saying, so yeah, they made the decision early on, but there are so many colleges that made a decision and backtracked.

As things got, you know, the numbers, COVID numbers went up.

Shveta  6:47


Venkat  6:48

And so nothing is cast in stone. So it could have changed, but I guess these guys hung on.

So, Okay. More power to them if they can keep it safe. And on campus.

Venkat  7:06  [Colleges that are getting the Fall Reopening right]

So the other, I think we are, and this kind of leads to the next topic, which is that a bunch of colleges that are open, and are sort of, quote unquote, getting it right.

And, and they seem to have some characteristics that help them sort of stay right.

What do you think of what's going on? And how do you see that unfolding over the next? I mean, we had about a month into colleges have been reopened about maybe two to four weeks.

Shveta  7:41  

Yeah, yeah. So I think, um, there's a couple of different articles about things like that. And I think some of the factors that come into play is the location of the school, the draw of the school, meaning how many come from within the state and out of state? Mm, oh, there are schools that are, you know, any school that's smaller, is definitely managing their numbers very well.

So I happen to know, the Oxford campus for Emory University has been really good about being able to manage to keep their numbers low, but it's, it's 45 minutes outside of Atlanta away from their main campus. So it does make a difference. It's only freshmen and sophomore on that campus. So again, your population is also smaller.

And then I've heard the similar kind of stories for even bigger universities like Boise State, and Montana Tech. But it goes back to the schools draw a high number of their students draw from within their state, you know, apparently have low numbers.

And then you take, my own son goes to San Diego State and their numbers, they're trying to do their best to keep the numbers low, but they draw from San Diego State draws from a lot of people all over the country, not just California students. Oh, San Diego County is really scrutinizing what the university is doing, to keep their numbers low, to hopefully move into the next tier fraction of you know, getting out of all these restrictions.

So it's a it's an interesting thing, but I, I do firmly believe, between location size and the draw of the school, has a major impact on those COVID cases, which I think leads into like, why majority the UCs have not done any on campus housing.

There's people that are doing it, and very, very limited, because they do draw from so many different parts of the country. And that will definitely impact the COVID numbers. So yeah, it's an interesting experiment that we're living in.

Venkat  10:15  

Yeah, it's interesting that to didn’t say that the students at these schools that are succeeding are better behaved than schools, students elsewhere. Oh, yeah.

Shveta  10:29  

Oh yeah! That’s not the case at all.

Yeah, well, maybe, Okay, I, there may be a little bit of that, because when you're at a smaller school, everyone kind of knows everyone, if you go to school have 2 or 3000. that's pretty much a good size High School. Right?

And you tend to know, everybody, if you're going to school of 10 2030, even 40,000 students? Yeah, it's a different environment. And so yeah, I, I definitely, I'd like to give the kids credit in doing their part. And there is a percentage that are but I think there's that small percentage that isn't, and that's what happens to their cases, it explodes from literally one party!

Venkat  11:15  

Yeah, I mean, I think I think, you know, you just have to know how to manage around that. And, I guess, some, some of the colleges, at some of the colleges anyway, students are sort of blowing the whistle, on others who are partying.

Now, I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing. But it, it at least provides some way of policing or self policing, if you will.

Shveta  11:47  

Yeah, I was, universities are, you know, they're trying anything that might help and it’s incentive, you know, they're hiring, maybe extra security to walk around campus to enforce wearing masks and social distancing.

If they are encouraging students to report, you know, gather, large gatherings and things like that. So they can do the university can come and break them up, kind of thing.

I know, universities are also giving incentives to test their kids bar, avoiding the test or refusing to test and the universities are saying it's better for us to test more, and as much as possible, and if they're able to do it financially, they'll give them incentives.

I think I heard one university is giving like Starbucks coupon.

Venkat 12:46  

Yeah, everything, whatever works,

Shveta  12:49  

Whatever works, you know, and, and because this is such a, you know, unprece.., unpre...I can't speak this morning.

Venkat  12:58  

Unprecedented  Yeah, I think I know what you're saying. Yeah.

Shveta  13:01  

That you've got it. You've got to be open to new ideas. Yeah...

Venkat  13:10  

Well, um, keep watching as usual, then.

And thank you so much for doing this again today. And have a great weekend and we'll talk soon.

Shveta  13:24  

Take care.

Venkat  13:25

Yep. Bye Bye.

Shveta  13:26


Venkat  13:35

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, Purdue University, University of California Santa Barbara, California State University, SAT, ACT, Campus, International students, Alma Matters, Podcasts, Ivy League, Fall Reopening, COVID-19, Coronavirus.

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