Many students entering college this fall 2021 are mentally exhausted due to the pandemic but eager for a campus experience, new results suggest. BCSSE results from more than 35,000 preparing to attend one of 57 U.S. colleges and universities reveal mental health concerns, variation in high school learning environments among racial identity groups, and more. View current results. Results were discussed in a free webinar —Students Entering College in Fall 2021: What Colleges and Universities Should Know— August 26, 1-2 pm Eastern time.
- Entering students experienced a variety of learning environments during their senior year of high school. About 60% had a combination of in-person and online instruction, while 26% took classes entirely online and 14% entirely in person.
- Instructional modality varied notably by racial/ethnic identity, suggesting the need for colleges and universities to design support for diverse groups of students.
- The toll of the pandemic on students’ mental health is of great concern. More than half (53%) had substantial (“very much” or “quite a bit”) increases in levels of depression, hopelessness, and loneliness due to COVID (Figure 1).
- Mental and emotional exhaustion appears to be linked to expectations of academic difficulty, suggesting an imperative to implement widespread, early, and frequent check-ins by faculty, academic advisors, and student life staff to offer the support and—if necessary—intervention to help students be successful in their first year of college.
View the webinar to learn more about results and how institutions can prepare for a cohort of entering students who bring unprecedented experiences. Colleges and universities need to respond adeptly to such circumstances and consider ways to realign student services and academic experiences.