ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — With graduation on the horizon, high school students have to choose where they want to continue their education. The decision is made more difficult because of COVID.
A senior at Rockford Lutheran said her decision could come down to how classes are taught.
One Rock Valley College official believes with enrollment down, they need students back on campus soon.
“We have seen a decline. About 12% or so, 12-13% and so that’s of concern,” said Dr. Patrick Peyer, the VP of Student Affairs.
The pandemic has forced colleges to pivot from in-person to mostly online learning. As a result, Rock Valley College has seeen enrollment drop from 6,000 students in fall of 2019 to 4,800 this spring.
Now, for the second year in a row, incoming students are deciding if they want to start their college experience online. Grace Ling is a senior at Rockford Lutheran High School. She tells us in-person classes will play a huge factor in her decision.
“I’m more of a very in-person learner. I need to have face-to-face contact, I can’t just be sitting in my room. I get distracted very easily. So just being inside of a classroom it’s just a lot easier to be focused, keep my grades up and be able to ask questions,” explained Ling.
The deadline to enroll at most colleges is May 1st. Senior Tyler Grove plans to attend Rock Valley College and remains hopeful that in-person classes will return by fall.
“The reason that I liked it was because I can do in-person there. Because I learn a lot better in person than I do anywhere on virtual, but in-person I just learn the best,” he explained.
Dr. Peyer has worked at the college for over 25 years. He says he’s never seen the campus this empty before.
“To not see students, it just breaks your heart because that’s what we’re here for. We can’t wait for them to come back like it’s pre-covid, but I think we’re probably at least another, if not two, potentially, three more semesters away from what would be considered a pre-covid normal,” Dr. Peyer added.
RVC’s schedule for the fall 2021 semester is set to be released in three weeks.