College and Career Planning / Health and Wellness / Math - Science - STEM / Ages 14-24

What's Going on With Pandemic Generation College Kids?

There’s been a lot in the news about learning loss among younger students due to pandemic-era school closures. But there’s been less talk about the effects on pandemic high schoolers—many of whom are now in college.

A recent New York Times article explored some of the academic and social-emotional challenges current college students are dealing with, as a result of their interrupted high school experience.

Here’s what they found:

  • Students are especially under-prepared in math and science. Many students are missing foundational math skills, leaving them less able to tackle the more complex mathematical concepts of college-level courses. Some professors report having to add remedial coursework to their previously more advanced classes—which in turn means students will miss out on those more advanced concepts.
  • Students of color and low-income students are most affected. Many colleges and universities, including HBCUs, are seeing lower rates of enrollment among students of color, low-income students, and first-generation college students. Among those who do enroll, remediation rates are up compared to pre-pandemic times. All of this means that opportunity and achievement gaps among students are now growing—rather than shrinking, as they were pre-pandemic.

  • Anxiety levels are up, and many students aren’t prepared to ask for support. We know that the pandemic experience took a toll on teenagers’ mental health. Now, some college officials are pointing out that students are seeking support (like peer tutoring) at lower rates than they used to—a sign that some students may be struggling, academically and otherwise, and keeping it to themselves.

If we want to ensure that future college students don’t start with the same challenges, families need to act now to make sure their kids get what they need from their high school classes. It’s a good time to connect with your child’s guidance counselor about how to make sure they have access to the right support and academic coursework to be prepared for college-level studies. And if you have a young adult already in college who needs support, we’ve got some suggestions for where to seek it out.

Read the full article from the New York Times for free.

Get the Guide by email

You’ll get early access to our newest resources, timely tips on how to support your child, and more!

Sign Up