The Public Health Benefits of Online College Counseling

[fa icon="calendar"] 3/3/20 3:34 PM / by Sheelah Bearfoot

Do you want to avoid falling behind—and falling ill?

At this point, we’re all probably a little sick of hearing about the Coronavirus. Its effects on the education sector are, however, an under-discussed area, and one where online learning can help solve some of the problems.

Schools across the nation have been scrambling to set remote learning procedures in place since the CDC announced that it is “confident an outbreak [of Coronavirus] will occur” in the US. 

Measures are already being taken at the collegiate level, as Northern California residents were shocked to hear of the three UC Davis students and 124 hospital staff members under a two-week quarantine.  While most colleges are experienced with remote education, thousands of high schools across the nation are scrambling to implement educational tools, such as online portals for turning in assignments and tele-lectures. The hope is that students won’t fall behind in lectures or lose access to other critical services, like meetings with their guidance counselor; but most schools are not prepared for such a drastic shift.

 

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Online learning is moving to the forefront, at a rate that's moving faster than most schools are prepared for.

 

Stay Ahead of the Curve

It’s better to be proactive than reactive. At Empowerly, we’ve obviously fully embraced the remote and online learning models, with great success. While other college counseling services, especially ones based in high schools, are scrambling to implement a successful online platform, we’ve spent years tripling students’ chances of admissions and gotten students into all of the top 20 schools via Zoom counseling sessions.

When you really think about it, there’s so many opportunities for disease to spread in our normal interactions, like going to an in-person college counseling session. If you walk there or take mass transit, you risk exposure just walking on sidewalks that a sick person could have spat on. Sitting in lobbies, touching door handles, setting your phone on a counter, signing in using an office pen that dozens of other people have touched, all of these normal interactions we don’t usually give a second thought to become pathways for pathogens to strike. That’s even before you see the counselor themselves, a counselor who has interacted with dozens of other people, all of whom may have taken less strict precautions than you did. 


Developing professional and academic connections through online mediums, rather than in the (sneezy and sniffly) flesh is only going to become more important and widespread as mass outbreaks like the Coronavirus become more frequent and last for longer. Not being physically in the same space as another person doesn’t make the connections formed any less personal—plus, if you get sick after an interaction with someone, that leaves a pretty bad impression. When you think of it like that, e-meetings actually have a major advantage when it comes to networking.  Becoming adept at navigating this new social sphere is critical for succeeding in any professional field, all sectors of our economy are catching on to the myriad benefits of remote work.

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We want to help you reach your goals and dreams without subjecting yourself to unnecessary risks.

 

Helping the Earth

From an environmental health standpoint, that’s one of the best things we can do for our Earth and our communities.


Transportation is the second biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions, right after the electricity sector, and the number one cause  for driving or taking other forms of carbon-intensive transit is to get to school. This, of course, takes a huge toll on air quality, with awful consequences for people’s cardiovascular health. Poor air quality (which is predominantly caused by transportation-based pollution) kills 5.5 million people globally every year, a number that’s only predicted to rise. Even if you only have to drive 3 miles (10 minutes on residential streets) each way to get to an in-person college counseling session, that releases on average over 5 pounds of CO2! Obviously this varies by vehicle, so if you’re curious for a more specific number, check out “map my emissions” to see how much you’re saving by using Empowerly rather than your local in-person counseling service. Our services help prepare students on how to interact in the professional world behind our screens. Grasping these new social norms now will give them an advantage in internships and workplaces that have a significant online component, something that more and more companies will move to as they seek to reap multiple public health benefits.

 

face mask on bus

Unfortunately, health officials agree that face masks are not a sufficient precaution for public spaces like transit.

 

Mental Health Matters

In addition to making sure you’re in a healthier setting, online counseling also makes sure you’re in a less stressful setting.

Most of us are going to handle stressful planning better if we’re in a comfortable setting. I don’t know of anyone who’s ideal comfortable setting is a classroom or corporate office—especially now that I can’t stop thinking about viruses lurking in the fabric of a waiting room chair. Our students and counselors feel more comfortable and productive working from the comfort of their homes. The time saved on commuting (and time saved by being healthy instead of sick) gives our students an edge and allows them to submit a better application.

 

remote work with kitty

Empowerly wants to empower you to feel—and do—your very best. At all times.


We’re living in very interesting times, some estimates from Harvard even say that 40-70% of our global population will contract the Coronavirus within a year. Even while many areas prepare to go into states of emergency, it’s critical not to lose sight of our long term goals (including college applications). Empowerly is here to help you stay on track, and provide a sense of normalcy and productivity in these chaotic months to come.

 

 

Topics: Life in College, Study Tips & Stress Management, Career advice

Sheelah Bearfoot

Written by Sheelah Bearfoot

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