Are They Prepared? A Question of College Readiness

Covid-19-Altered Education

After a year and a half of Covid19-altered education, we might ask, are our seniors ready for the next chapter? My students may have an advantage in attending all but 2 weeks in person during the 2020-2021 school year. However, compared with previous graduating classes, there are some significant differences. Schedules were shortened to provide proper social distancing and to reduce student stress.  The downside was that teachers had less time to cover all of their content. Even with this compacted schedule, student learning and engagement seem higher than during the 2020 spring shutdown when only distance learning happened.

Necessity Is the Mother of Invention

We should embrace what the challenge of the pandemic has created in our students. Their struggles and experiences are unique. Many new solutions will result from this challenging point in history. The “2020 Top 10 Innovations” includes incredible advances in science and medicine. Of course, the pandemic creates incredible growth in educational technology, which students experienced first hand. And then we think of how the pandemic will shape all types of things in the future. For example, in the creative sphere, The Telegraph declares, “The pandemic will revolutionise the way we dress – just like it did after the world wars.” It notes that after World War I:

“[Coco Chanel] retreated into deep mourning. This was a time when a multitude of other women were grieving…the First World War; and the world was still reeling from the subsequent shock of a flu virus that killed many millions more. In time, Chanel recovered her creative strength and emerged with an icon: the little black dress, which turned the traditional colour of bereavement into a symbol of female independence.”

Are Students Ready? Ask Them!

When I asked if the seniors at my school were ready for college, they answered an overwhelming “no” to this question. When asked why, their responses included:

  • I didn’t get to visit my college.
  • The shutdown caused me to develop poor motivation and bad sleep habits.
  • My teachers were not consistent in their delivery online.
  • I became a germophobe.
  • I liked that the technology provided flexibility in the schedule, but I fear things will be rigid again in college.

In the end, students expressed hope for a safe in-person college experience. They want to hang out in the commons room and participate in traditional student life activities. All of these reflective and, in some ways, mature responses make me think: they are, in fact, ready!

Parting Lessons

Harlan Cohen, a college transition educator, tells students to think about finding five people and three places at their college campus where they can find help and friendship. Let your seniors know the college librarian can be their friend. And let them know the college library can be one of their places.  See the article “5 Reasons Why Your University Library Is Your Best Friend.” Urge seniors to visit their college library’s website and look for the library’s social media. For those who could not make a college visit, send them to You Visit. Their current slogan is “Find the right college for you; distance should not limit your college options.”

More Resources for Educators

For data on these topics, consult the Annenberg Institute at Brown University working papers on Covid-19 Education Research for Recovery.

The State of Educational Technology in a Post-Pandemic World.

The pandemic could open a door to new technology — and dramatic innovation — in education.


Author: Hannah Byrd Little

I’m a dedicated Library Director at The Webb School of Bell Buckle, leveraging my background in higher education libraries to guide students through the crucial transition from school to college and beyond.

I am honored to have served as the AASL Chair for the Independent School Section in 2023 and am excited to begin my upcoming role as Director-At-Large for the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) later this year, following my previous experience as a Member Guide in the AASL Emerging Leaders program. These appointments reflect my commitment to advancing library education and professional development on a national scale.

With experience in state-level leadership through the Tennessee Association of School Librarians (TASL), including serving as TASL President in 2012, I bring a wealth of knowledge to my role. My educational background includes certifications as a Library Information Specialist for PreK-12th grade, a Bachelor of Science in Communications (Advertising & Public Relations), a Bachelor of Science in Liberal Studies (Education & Information Systems), and a Master’s in Library and Information Science.

Categories: Blog Topics, Student Engagement/ Teaching Models, Technology

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