Freshman Students Worried About College


College freshmen in Georgia are facing a unique set of challenges as their classes are set to begin in August.

 Matthew Slaughter, a student who will be attending Central Georgia Technical College in the fall said that his biggest concern when looking at colleges was how they were handling classes.

He said that having an online option was the most important thing he looked for in colleges. 

“I was looking at going to Middle Georgia and taking one of their chemistry classes, but it’s only offered in person and not online,” Slaughter said.

Slaughter switched from attending his high school in Warner Robins when classes went online to being homeschooled by his parents for the last of his senior year. 

“I was pulled out because it was a lot easier to school from home instead of going through the high school system which is taking a lot longer to transition,” Slaughter, who had been homeschooled up until seventh grade, said.

He graduated from high school last month. 

Previously, Slaughter had been dual enrolled at Central Georgia Technical College as part of his high school curriculum. This allowed him to attend college classes while getting both high school and undergraduate credit. 

“I’ve done online classes before and there are some pitfalls but hopefully with this virus, we’re looking at having better online programs in the future,” Slaughter said.

Slaughter said that he was glad that Central Georgia Technical College had made the decision to offer online classes as an option for students. 

“You can see that a lot of colleges are very desperate for students, so they’re willing to make risky decisions to make sure they get those students,” Slaughter said. 

According to its website, Central Georgia Technical College is offering in-person, hybrid, and online classes for the fall semester. However, the college states that they are prioritizing in-person meetings for classes that require in-person interactions or the use of equipment. These classes include those with labs and clinicals. 

Some universities have forgone online options entirely and instead focused on social distancing within the classroom.

Kaysha Stephens, who will be attending Georgia Southern University this fall, said that she was glad to be able to attend her classes in person. 

Like Slaughter, Stephens also did dual enrollment. She took several online classes from Chattahoochee Technical College during high school, which she said helped prepare her for potential online classes in the fall. 

Still, she did not think that online classes were the best option for learning. 

“It’s a lot harder to ask questions and communicate for group projects online,” Stephens said, “I just feel like not a very effective way of learning and retaining that information.”

Even if the communication issues associated with online classes were solved, Stephens said she still didn’t think she would be able to thrive in classes that didn’t meet in person.

“I need hands-on learning, especially for the math and science classes I’m supposed to be taking this semester,” Stephens said. 

In addition to this, Stephens said she was worried about how the dorm and food situations were going to work on campus. 

She worried about the potential of students getting one another sick due to shared living spaces. 

“There’s no way to avoid getting sick if you’re living with someone in a dorm,” Stephens said, “There’s no way to socially distance inside a dorm.”

Classes for Georgia Southern University’s fall semester are set to begin on August 17 and freshman students are expected to move in on August 13.