What have local universities learned in 2020?

The roller coaster year of empty dorms, virtual learning and hesitant reopens seems to be slowly coming to an end for colleges in Wisconsin, as institutions gear up for in-person classes next fall. But the lessons learned from this pandemic period will carry over years into the future.

“Higher education really needs to focus on making it as student-focused and valuable as possible,” says John Swallow, President of Carthage College.

This means less upfront costs and more value after graduation. Carthage has made financial aid a priority, so the average student pays less in tuition than 10 years ago. And Aspire program of Carthage aims to prepare students for the evolution of the labor market. When freshmen enroll in the first semester of classes, they meet their career advisor to integrate the curriculum with professional opportunities.

“If you’re majoring in history or art or many other liberal arts majors, for a very long time there haven’t been a lot of internship opportunities for those,” says Daniel Scholz, Interim President of Cardinal Stritch University. “We have now integrated this into the program with our professional core.” Cardinal Stritch revamped his curriculum in 2020 to give students more freedom and a marketable experience. Students shape their own majors with interdisciplinary classes and take courses on internships, networking, and professional skill development that lead to connections with industry.

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AT Milwaukee School of Engineering, the need to prepare students for the job market is reflected in a focus on new technologies. MSOE technology energizes departments far beyond simple computer science. “The use of virtual reality, arArtificial intelligence and machine learning are entering the building design and construction industry and will revolutionize the industry, ”said Christopher Raebel, chair of the Department of Civil and Architectural Engineering and Construction Management.

Using MSOE’s Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality Lab, students interact with enhanced three-dimensional designs. With Wisconsin’s only accredited architectural engineering program, they have a unique chance to enter a growing and high-demand field.

“The world our students enter is not as compartmentalized as it was 50 years ago,” adds Scholz. “The ability of students to work with people who are unlike them, to be creative, to communicate, to adapt is crucial.”


University studies come at a price, often quite disagreeable. Paying for it is a barrier that almost all students face. UW Credit Union started offering “family student loans” to allow relatives of a student to help. Parents, family members and friends can take out a loan of up to $ 15,000 per school year to finance the student’s education with repayment options of 5, 10 and 15 years. UWCU also offers traditional student loans that go directly to the student, but family loans have proven to be attractive as a way for loved ones to support their future college graduate.

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EVERY SPRING, tens of thousands of American students are vying for limited places at the country’s top colleges. “This past year has only accelerated the pace of change in the college admissions process,” says Joshua Labove, Dean of Admissions at Wayland Academy, a secondary residential school in Beaver Dam.

The increasingly complex process requires high schools to adapt. At Wayland, students are paired with a counselor to guide them. First of all, choosing the right class time is crucial. Wayland offers 24 advanced placement classes, which reinforce an application. Beyond academics and testing, Labove emphasizes the importance of writing skills and also highlights Wayland’s Capstone program, which allows students to pursue a major academic, volunteer or creative project in their final year, from the from making a documentary to translating a novel from English to Chinese, which can help a university app stand out.

“By cultivating these skills early on, you not only make a savvy marketer and someone who will stand out in the college admissions process,” Labove says, “but someone who will thrive when they get there. . “



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