Ask the Students What They Think

Author: Steve McLoughlin

Preparing for what’s next.

There’s no doubt these are challenging times for everyone. While we all have to prepare for the worst, watching the headlines makes it feel like doom and gloom for all higher education institutions.

Will Students Come Back?

Classes Canceled Until 2021

Coronavirus Drives Students to In-State Public Schools

You May Want to Rethink that MBA

Our Classrooms Will Never Be the Same (The Six-Foot Classroom)

Okay, that last one is made up but harkens a real concept being discussed in corporate environments about how to maintain six feet of distance in an office space. This is certainly a possibility for classrooms.

The others are actual headlines and several more come out every day. The reality is this is the new normal, at least for now. The good news is that the majority of college students, especially those in graduate programs, are positive about the way in which their college is handling this crisis. According to a recent study by, 65% felt their college was handling the crisis well. However, with most institutions shifting to online learning, very few students, only 15%, find online classes as effective as in-person.

We did our own study, too, and asked a handful of incoming and current students how the coronavirus pandemic has affected them. It’s clear this particular group of students is interested in a hands-on and more personal experience that being on-campus provides. But there are certainly others who had already embraced remote learning prior to the current pandemic and it hasn’t affected their educational experience.

The bottom line is every student is different. Understanding what appeals to them and where to intercept them during their personal student journey is still critical to driving new students and keeping the ones you have.

Have you asked your incoming freshman class how they’re feeling about the upcoming fall semester? How about surveying your current students to take the pulse of the many emotions they’re feeling right now as they finish their year at home? These answers might help guide your messaging and allow your admissions counselors to lead with empathy on their next prospective student phone call.

Feel free to check out the video of a few of the students we talked to: