How is COVID-19 Impacting College Education?

How is COVID-19 Impacting College Education?

Are you worried about college admissions during the pandemic? Then this blog post is for you! 


In this Relax Teams video, Russ, Susan, and Dennis talk about the impact of the pandemic on college education and beyond. Plus a lot of informative and helpful tips for parents and students to navigate the college process.

Russ Vitale

Russ Vitale is the owner of Destination College Success. He is an independent college counselor for over 16 years helping people to successfully navigate the college process. 

The college process can be overwhelming and stressful. And while Russ has always been sharing successful ways to address that, this time, he talks about resiliency. Russ shares how he can see a lot of resilience from his students during the pandemic. 

This challenging time has allowed people to find things about themselves that they didn’t know before. Russ used this as an opportunity to look at it as a preparation for students when they go on to college and need to become independent. Inside the video, Russ shares how he maneuvered through the student’s challenges into something positive and even making them feel empowered for taking their own steps. Russ takes a unique approach with students, but do you know what he gets from it? He receives compliments - for making people feel confident that they are on the right track. Watch the video and hear it in detail from Russ. 

How has the pandemic impacted your organization and the individuals that you serve?

For about a year and a half, Russ was moving a lot of his business and consulting work online so he had an easy transition when the pandemic happened. 

Russ shares that people are now more receptive and open (out of necessity) for virtual interactions and conversations. The situation helped him spread on a national level and people are more open to working with him despite the geographical distance. Therefore, the pandemic has actually provided more opportunities for Russ as he was able to broaden his reach. 

On another note, the pandemic has allowed parents and students to look at schools holistically.

When they are too busy looking at brand name schools they tend to forget to consider important factors. In the absence of school visits, the pandemic has encouraged them to go beyond the surface level and analyze their list of schools even deeper. 

What do you want people to remember?

“I think most important is that “a happy child is a successful child”. I don’t truly believe that you have to go about this process with more stress and anxiety than it already entails. 

The goal is not just to get into college, it is only the start. If you do the right work beforehand, you will put your child in the right place to be successful academically, socially, and at a price, you can afford which is happy for the whole family. 

You need to become an educated college consumer and my company has incredibly affordable ways to do it. We offer a free consultation and we'll let you know how we can provide the services you need for a price you can afford. We’ll also be the first one to tell you if you’ll be fine going at it solo, without paying for our support and guidance."

Susan Alaimo

Susan Alaimo has been working with college-bound students for 25 years now. She is the founder and director of College Bound Review which was formerly known as SAT Smart. They cover preparation for PSAT, SAT, ACT, AP courses, and all high school subject tutoring. Pre-Covid, a lot of their sessions, both private tutoring and college application process are in person. 

Susan shares that they have a high demand for AP courses. AP courses are very popular because they are college-level courses and written by college boards. Do you want to know more about APs and why colleges are looking a lot into them? Susan shares a comprehensive explanation inside the video!

Susan also works with student’s entire college application process like Russ. She focuses on New Jersey Students and wrote two books on New Jersey students and the college application process. There are factors that are mutual all over the country but there’s a lot of criteria specific to NJ students. What are these factors? New Jersey schools are very competitive. Students are taking 10, 15, and up to 19 AP courses! 

How has the pandemic impacted your organization and the individuals that you serve?

Susan was able to learn Zoom quickly. When the pandemic started, their courses and tutoring were all virtual. However, Susan and her team made sure that their courses are interactive and comfortable at the same time. During classes, they call on students alphabetically by the first name because that’s how their names appear on the screens. The students participate in class without having to catch them off guard. 

Another thing that they focus on during the pandemic is that while almost every college will say that SAT scores aren’t required, they still accept them. Therefore, if students have great SAT scores, it will surely benefit them. Susan tells her students to make the most out of their opportunities and use their creativity to stand above the crowd despite what we’re all going through.

Also inside the video, Susan shares a very interesting website where students can creatively take part in many fields across the sciences, humanities, and more. Do you want to count penguins in Antarctica? Find out how. 

What do you want people to remember?

“My words of wisdom are for students. To identify what their passion is, they really should think through what they like and what they want to do in life and then spend their high school years trying to aim for that. I try to really help students find their niche 

I try to help students early on to identify their passion and then put their time and efforts into pursuing that dream in high school and then moving on into college.”

Dennis Harabin

Dennis Harabin is a CPA and the founder of Relax Tax and Relax Teams. Dennis's firm is a Google authorized reseller and has been waiting for the virtual world to happen since 2008. They believe that technology would allow this thing to happen. The world is ready for it, however, prior to COVID people were not.

Dennis spent the last eight years while he waited for people to be ready to transact virtually looking at the areas that drive personal finance the most. The answer? Insurance, taxes, and debt. As an accountant, he started with taxes but it was insurance and debt that was impacting people the most. The debt wasn't a mortgage, or cars, or credit card, but college debt. 

Also during those eight years, Dennis has been recruited into a job that created  predictive analytics for colleges and universities. Dennis sold the software that colleges use to shape a class, to decide who they’re going to bring into the class, and to know exactly how much each student is going to pay while they’re in the class. The software is based on algorithms and machine learning considering every factor including zip code. 

Dennis also shares that people tend to get crazy during the process of getting into college and university. He is concerned that forgetting to do the math in all the excitement will definitely have a financial impact not just on the student but on the family as well.

Why does college cost so much?

A lot of colleges aren’t prepared for virtual, paying traditional schools for virtual learning can not last.

Dennis went to a lot of colleges and universities. That’s how he knew that they were so busy building “megapolis’ driving up the cost of student "customer" acquisition. The schools keep competing to beat other schools by building bigger buildings, fancier food, etc. By doing these, these schools are increasing fixed costs. Doing so puts these schools in trouble because they won’t be able to drive down those costs to be competitive with other options. 

The cost for traditional colleges to educate someone has gotten so high  because of the the cost of customer acquisition, not the costs associated with the actual education. 

As a financial partner, Dennis hopes to wake people up and help them understand how much debt they are putting on themselves. His firm obsesses about helping people to retain more of what they earn. However, the reality is, you don’t have to earn as much if you don’t have as much debt.

How has the pandemic impacted your organization and the individuals that you serve?

The pandemic has its negative impacts but there have been a number of blessings as well. The pandemic has allowed opportunities and chances to wake people up and get them to listen.

What do you want people to remember?

“Be careful of how much debt you acquire and really look at the long-term consequences.”

Learn more about Dennis.


See Related Article: How is COVID-19 Impacting Young People's Education?


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