COVID imperils college plans
With many colleges and universities unsure how much distance learning might be needed because of COVID-19 this fall, some students are reconfirming their choices for higher education.
Centre graduate Jensen Riffel received a scholarship to play football at Ottawa University. The school plans to start in-person classes in the fall.
“I’m a very hands-on person,” he said. “I like seeing what I’m learning instead of being on a computer.”
With practices starting Aug. 8, and classes two weeks later, Riffel is looking forward to resuming usual fall activities.
Being able to attend classes in person is something Riffel can enjoy at a small school like Ottawa.
“It’s a smaller town” he said. “They don’t have to worry about nearly as many people as St. Mary’s near Kansas City.”
Marion graduate Peyton Ensey is another student who has not enjoyed remote classes, and that’s a major factor in his college decision.
“My grades really struggled during this online high school stuff,” he said. “I was in two college classes my senior year and really struggled with Comp II and Calculus.”
While Ensey is unsure of his immediate path, pursuing education isn’t what fazes him.
“I enjoy going to school,” he said. “There are definitely some parts I don’t enjoy and struggle with, but I enjoy learning. Going to college is all about learning.”
Ensey hopes to attend Wichita State University for mechanical engineering, but has no plans to take college classes remotely.
“I’m not going to pay ridiculous amounts of money to not get the full experience or be able to go in and ask teachers questions, go in and listen to lectures where I’m just sitting there online,” he said. “If I wanted to do something online, I’d do something I could just do from home.”
With his plans for fall in flux, Ensey is open to the idea of entering the work force.
Ensey participated in Hutchinson Community College’s welding program last year, which qualified him to weld professionally.
His goal is to work with vehicle suspensions and engines, with his own shop to design custom parts.
Riffel said not attending Ottawa was never an option once he committed.
“I can’t really back out of this since I already signed my national letter of intent,” he said. “Plus, my parents would never let me do that.”
His educational interests lie in kinesiology and exercise science or becoming a principal.Before he can reach those goals, Riffel will keep pursuing football.
“It’s been something I always wanted to do,” he said. “That’s a big reason why I want to pursue it. I didn’t want to be that guy who said I should have never hung up my cleats that early.”