August 9, 2021
Even though many colleges aren’t wrapped up with admissions for fall 2021, they are starting in on those who will apply this fall and winter to enroll in the fall of 2022.
And one big question they have is: Will students stay away from colleges in states in the South or Midwest that have been doing a poor job of handling coronavirus, and in particular the Delta variant? Or more specifically, will parents urge their children to stay away? (Most counselors consider it much more likely that parents than students will answer Yes.)
The issue is important to lots of colleges and many students. Places like Duke, Emory, Tulane and Vanderbilt Universities all are located in Southern states, and all recruit (with great success) students from all over the world. Public universities are affected, too. Only 40 percent of the undergraduates at the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa are from Alabama.
Diana Blitz is a private counselor in Washington, D.C., and she thinks there will be changes. “Most of my students have parents who are progressive liberals,” she said. “Many of them have no interest in going to college in Florida, Alabama or Louisiana,” she said. In the past, she has seen many students apply to colleges in those states. She is surprised that many students don’t want to consider Tulane because of the coronavirus. It has nothing to do with Tulane’s policies, but everything to do with reports about what’s going on in New Orleans.
“There’s absolutely a consciousness about it,” she said.
Many parents are also demanding that their children look at at least one college that is a short drive from their homes. “They have the idea that everything could change and you could need to pack up,” Blitz said.
But Blitz has one client who is from a conservative part of the Northeast. He plans to apply to universities in Kentucky and Alabama. “Not concerned at all,” she said.
Some cautions about this article: The pandemic has not been static. A month ago, many people were excited by what they saw as the end of the pandemic. Face masks were disappearing from campuses. The more recent news about the Delta variant may or may not also be replaced by new developments, especially if the Delta variant accelerates and then quickly slows down as it has in England and India.