How college students feel about COVID and their careers

Students are most concerned campuses will close due to lack of social distancing at parties
By: | November 20, 2020
More than half of college students say they have confidence in their school's COVID safety measures, but they worry about parties are career prospects. (GettyImages/FatCamera)More than half of college students say they have confidence in their school's COVID safety measures, but they worry about parties are career prospects. (GettyImages/FatCamera)

Students have increasing confidence they will be protected from COVID by the safety measures in place at their college or university, a new survey has found.

Some 55% of students said they trusted their school’s prevention efforts, according to a November survey by College Pulse. That’s up from the 48% of students who expressed the same confidence in a July College Pulse survey.

However, only about one-third (37%) of students said they would feel comfortable living in a dorm this fall.

Students are most concerned about their classmates not following social distancing guidelines at campus parties. Three-quarters of those surveyed feared such behavior could cause their campuses to shut down.


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And while female students are more likely than male students to worry about this (77% vs. 65%), just one in 10 students admitted to having attended a college party during the fall semester.

Slightly more than half of students said they would report a risky party to administrators.

Housing disruptions

A quarter of students surveyed said rising COVID cases forced their schools to return to full-time online learning after beginning the fall semester with a hybrid approach that let them attend some classes in-person.

And Black students were almost twice as likely as white students to say they had to move out of on-campus housing (27% vs. 14%) due to such a transition.

Just 17% of students who had to leave on-campus housing reported getting a full refund, while 13% got no refund at all.


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And when it comes to returning home for Thanksgiving, nearly one-third (31%) of students said they were worried about bringing COVID-19 back to their hometowns.

Career prep concerns

In a separate survey, more than two-thirds of students said COVID disruptions will leave them feeling less prepared to find a job after college.

Despite these concerns, a large majority of students (75%) said they remained positive that their major will lead them to a good job after graduation. However, arts and humanities majors are significantly less optimistic than are science majors by a margin of 50% vs. 81%.

Beyond COVID, students are less confident that they will graduate with adequate job interviewing skills. Most students, however, said they would have sufficient collaboration and problem solving skills.