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Virtual opportunity helps high school seniors jumpstart their Nichols College experience

By Mauri Pelto, Ph.D. Vice President for Academic Affairs

In April, as the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the globe, with businesses and schools either closing or going remote, Nichols College gave high school seniors the opportunity to get a jump on their college education, by offering them their first course.  

The goal was to provide a glimpse under the hood at the college experience, to help develop the certainty that they were on the right path, and to show that college courses could be offered and provide substantial value, even in in a pandemic. 

We offered a set of four courses beginning in mid-April to high school students who had been admitted to Nichols.  By the end of July, 50 percent of the incoming class of Nichols College had launched their college careers by completing a course. The courses were delivered by Nichols faculty in a synchronous setting to students from multiple schools and ranged from Criminal Law and Procedure, Introduction to Sport Management, Leading and Managing Organizations, Entrepreneurial Management, to Principles of Marketing – courses that introduced new and relevant topics to students.

The high school students who participated – some of whom expressed some anxiety at first – attest to having had an engaging and enlightening experience that made them more comfortable, confident, and prepared for the fall semester. (See their comments below).

While there is still considerable uncertainty about our economy and the ability of schools and colleges to open safely, two points of certainty cannot be overstated: 1) The current unemployment rate for people with a bachelor’s degree is 6 percent versus the overall rate of nearly 12 percent, illustrating the value of a degree in getting and keeping jobs and the disadvantage of students delaying their education; and 2) Nichols College can deliver college content that is valuable not just in a classroom, but also in synchronous remote classes.

What students had to say…

Jonathan Swift 

Taking this class actually has changed my perception of college… Nichols made this class really easy to access and take in a short period of time. I came to realize that it isn’t that bad or scary like some might say.

MaKenzie Tinglof 

… This is the first college course I have taken, and having Nichols offer this class made me feel that the school cares about our education. It made me more interested in my college education and future plans the more I learn about the different aspects of marketing….

Victoria Phillips 

…Even though I have taken a couple of classes at QCC before this, this course made me more excited to start college again…. Professor [William] O’Keefe has been an amazing professor for this class. I am more committed to my education and looking forward to continuing taking classes.

Adie Hughes 

…Taking this course has given me the confidence to know that I can be successful, even in an area that I have not previously studied…. The fact that I have found interest outside of my future major is a good sign moving forward and has helped me become more committed to the process because I know that I can be a more versatile student.

Grace Killman 

I have always been interested and committed to my college education, but this class definitely pushed me to be more committed. Meeting and talking with new people from all over and having a professor over a teacher definitely separates this experience from high school and was a really unique experience that incoming freshman were able to do.

Emma Norton 

…[This course] shows that the professors really want us to succeed in the real world and make sure we know all the information we need to find our future jobs. This class really helped me understand what classes are like and what they are going to be like this fall.   

Alex Archambault 

…This course has shown me that even though things are not uniform and normal, that online classes, if that is the option to continue with classes, may be quite easy. I am way more interested and ready for college than I was before….

Christopher Ryan 

…I can say that I am more interested in my college education now because I have learned a lot about the basics of marketing from this class, and it makes me want to study and look deeper into it…

Clare Caufield 

This class…has shown me how to be more independent as a person and a student…. I am excited to be able to learn more and meet more of my classmates and future professors. 

Jenna Condon 

This course… has given me some experience of independence and higher-level thinking…. I am so happy that I was able to begin my college education now because it makes me even more excited and optimistic about what my future will bring in my next four years at Nichols.

Jordan Knowles 

This course …is an introduction to the workload that I will soon receive in the fall. [It] has brought me comfort knowing that the professors are accommodating and people, too, not the scary teachers you see in the movies. 

Idona Dulude

This course [helped] me get a feel to how college works. Professor [Erica] Smith has taught me about the business world and how it functions by using the modules in real-life situations.

Carolyn Smith

… At the community college I have now graduated from, it was very uncommon for classes to be as neatly organized in modules; professors mainly used it as a grading portal and occasionally posted assignments on it. This class has given me the opportunity to get a taste of what classes at Nichols will be like, and everyone seems to be extremely friendly and hardworking.

Shane O’Brien
…I think this course has helped me to see that college is more than just a grade but really teaches you information that you can take and apply in real life situations.  This course was a tremendous start for my college career, and I am looking forward to seeing what other courses will interest me during my four years at Nichols.  

Kendall Walsh
… In the beginning I wasn’t sure how I was feeling about college courses, or if I was even ready for what they had in store for me… After taking this class I believe I am better prepared for the fall. I feel more eager for it all to start and can’t wait…

Riley Stawiecki
…I was put in a place that left me completely responsible on whether or not to get things done and to do them on my own time. We had to remember to do things on our own and with a group, which I’ve never had to work this way…

Ashlee Puma
I feel more prepared and comfortable about going to college now. I was hesitant and nervous about group assignments and video recording…. This class gave me an overview of college course work, programs/software that I will be using, and the ability to manage my time. 

Clara-Camille Santoro

…I had been going to a community college…and was nervous that when I began a four-year school it might to a tough transition…. That is not the case…. I think having Professor [Erica] Smith as an instructor has made me even more excited to begin in person classes at Nichols.