Ask Slashdot: How Should College Students Approach This Academic Year?

Long-time Slashdot reader goombah99 wonders how college students should approach this next academic year.

First, should defer their next academic year? Even universities opening their dorms are still limiting their dining facilities to take-out box lunches and offering most of their classes online. (Though some give students a choice of online or in-person classes). Yet despite the new rules, “Some universities are sticky about deferrals, requiring medical excuses, or else re-application for majors and scholarships. Others are more generous.”

And that’s just first decision students are facing:
If you chose to attend online, would you opt to be in the dorms — or in your parent’s house or your home town? What would you be losing (or gaining) by that choice, compared to socially distanced in-person?
For a real-world example, the original submission asks what’s the best strategy for a CS major taking just one or two classes online. “Take a freshman core course? Take a super hard foundational upper level course like Algorithm’s and Data Structures? Or take a simpler class like Intro to Object- Oriented Programming in Java. Which of these benefit the most from having in-person study buddies and labs with in-person TAs?”

Utimately the original submission asks what it is that makes college transformative — the classes, or being there (and living on-campus) in-person? “For me, I recall not even knowing all the possible majors when I attended, and it was networks, chance, new friends and upperclassmen who were how I learned what I wanted to pursue… What does one lose by remote learning and why, either academically or socially?”

Share your own thoughts in the comments. How should college students approach this academic year?

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