College…From Home?


Mia Fusillo, staff writer

Back in March, many of us anticipated a short break from school as the new and unknown coronavirus made its way into our country. However, I don’t think many predicted what would follow after this situation quickly escalated. Not only was the rest of the school year pushed online, but some colleges are now anticipating the same for the upcoming fall semester.

As a senior, I anxiously waited to hear back from The University of Texas at Austin to see if I would be getting my freshman year experience from my house or not. Recently, my school announced that classes will in fact be in person, but the last week or so of the semester, which includes finals, that follows Thanksgiving break will be online. Even though the entire semester isn’t in person, I am beyond grateful to have as close to a “natural” freshman experience as possible. My school and a few others have already made a decision regarding the fall semester, but some of my friends are still waiting to hear back. 

Kianna Barbarisi, a UCTECH student who took classes at Kean her senior year and will be attending Temple University, will be in Philadelphia in the fall, but a definitive decision regarding in-person classes hasn’t been made yet. One idea is that Temple will implement a 50/50 system so students will take half of their classes in person and the other half online.

Caroline Hall, a senior at Oak Knoll who will be attending Dartmouth, will be hearing back from Dartmouth by the end of June to see what her fall semester will look like. She is hopeful that her school will do everything it can to prioritize the students and the traditional college experience, and she thinks it would be a much different experience to take classes from home, if that’s the case. She explains that the social aspect is an important part of college and it would be very hard to replicate off-campus.

Many other students are also in the same position. Their priority is to keep the students healthy, which is why an on-campus semester would raise some concerns. However, many seniors know that being on campus is an important part of the freshman year experience and it cannot be made up. Due to this, many students are considering other options, such as a gap year or taking courses at a community college instead. Overall, students would like to return to a sense of normalcy as quickly as possible and the idea of taking classes online is a dreaded vision, but it may be necessary through these unprecedented times for everyone’s safety.

For more on this topic, check out a podcast I made with licensed psychologist Dr. Joel Ingersoll and my two friends, Caroline Hall and Paige Spoerl, who are also seniors. In the podcast, we further explained common feelings amongst the senior class during this time and thoughts about the upcoming fall semester and beyond.