Pandemic taking a toll on college students

Pandemic taking a toll on college students

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Commencement ceremonies at colleges and universities are just a few weeks away, and there’s even more for students to celebrate after overcoming a one-of-a-kind school year.

University officials at Savannah State tell us communication has been the key to a successful school year during the pandemic.

For the 2020-2021 school year, most classes were online and there were some hybrid models offered.

During the past year, the university created a COVID Task Force and offered testing as well as vaccination clinics to students.

While they made it through the school year, some students cannot wait to get back into the classroom and back to all of the campus events.

“I am very much an introvert so seeing people on campus forced me to get out of my comfort zone, but with the pandemic and everybody being in their classrooms, it has been hard for us to meet new people because really how we met people was through campus events,” said Anaya Smith, SSU Junior, Criminal Justice Major.

“I’m looking forward to getting back to the old SSU that I experienced when I first came in 2018. Just seeing people around campus hanging out, classes being in-person, events being in-person,” said Chrisian Hill, SSU Junior, Mass Communications Major.

The SSU COVID Task Force will continue their work this fall and evaluate the safety of all in-person events, including an in-person graduation ceremony with limited attendance that is scheduled for May 8.

Some good news for Georgia college students is they will not see a rise in prices for the upcoming 2021-2022 school year. The Board of Regents voted to keep tuition rates the same for the second year in a row, and the fourth time in six years.

Savannah State has already accepted 1,200 more students than they did for the 2020 enrollment period. Currently, there are around 3,400 students enrolled and university officials estimate final enrollment for fall will be around the same, if not even higher.

“Our applications are down slightly but our acceptance rate is up in pursuing a student whose holistic portfolio indicates that they are strong academically in the absence of standardized tests,” said Dr. Sametria Mcfall, Interim Provost and VP of Academic Affairs at Savannah State University.

The university system did not require SAT scores for acceptance. Instead, the school is looking at GPA and involvement in their community and extra-curricular activities.

At Georgia Southern University, school officials say they have seen an increase in applications and are hopeful the enrollment will be up as well.

Students at Georgia Southern and Savannah State will go through orientation over the summer. By the fall, they will be back to a much more traditional school year.

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