Miller: COVID-19 made college less challenging, your degree less competitive


Collegian | Suka Vo

Jack Miller, Staff Reporter

Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by The Collegian or its editorial board.

Although the current impact of the COVID-19 pandemic isn’t as severe as it once was, there are still systems in our society that have yet to come back to normal. An example of this is our education system.


Blindsided by the pandemic, schools quickly went to online learning, which led to different curricula, different activities and different systems of grading. Although we are done with nationwide Zoom classes, many classes still offer hybrid options, online tests and flexible deadlines.

In the past five years, we’ve seen an uptick in average GPA among college students. Although the average GPA has gone up, there’s been a decrease in studying and test prep. This points to the fact that college courses today put less demand on their students in terms of homework and course material.

“I’ve been in college for almost two years now, and I’ve only had one class that did in-person tests,” said Sam Anderson, a sophomore at Colorado State University. “The rest of them have been online and open notes. I usually gloss over my notes for an hour or so beforehand, and that’s usually enough for me to get a good grade on the test.”

Noah Stephens was a first-year student when the COVID-19 outbreak hit CSU.

“I went from having to spend at least 25 hours a week on classes to spending less than 10,” Stephens said. “It was laughable how easy the classes were during online school. I got straight As that semester while putting in 20% effort.” 

It’s hard to place blame on the education system for how they handled the pandemic because it couldn’t have been foreseen. However, some worry that our education system isn’t going back to normal after the pandemic.

“It’s important for students to acknowledge that earning a college degree isn’t as coveted as it was in our parents’ generation. Although it’s important, it doesn’t set people apart as it did in previous generations.”

Landon Laman is a graduate student at Colorado State University and serves as a graduate teaching assistant for the journalism department. He acknowledges how classes still seem to be far easier today than they were before the pandemic.

“I feel like a lot of people got used to the easiness of Zoom classes,” Laman said. “It was really difficult to get people to engage in that first semester back in person. It felt like students forgot how to communicate with each other, follow deadlines and even pay attention in class. That was really draining for the teachers I worked with.”

Laman is concerned with how college courses have gotten much easier. He explained how although this may seem convenient for students at the moment, it will likely bring long-term consequences.


“If you look back a few decades ago, being a college graduate meant so much more in the workforce than it does today,” Laman said. “Back then, you couldn’t access information on Google. Passing your classes meant that you sat down in the library and spent hours studying and retaining the information you needed. Modern-day employers know that it’s not as big of an achievement to graduate college.”

Lucas Dines, a 22-year-old CSU graduate, is experiencing challenges trying to get a job related to his business administration major.

“I was confident going into the job market,” Dines said. “I didn’t feel a need for too many resume builders because I had a solid GPA, and I liked what I was doing. But I was applying to any finance job I could find, and I wasn’t able to get a job.”

It’s important for students to acknowledge that earning a college degree isn’t as coveted as it was in our parents’ generation. Although it’s important, it doesn’t set people apart as it did in previous generations.

“The technological Pandora’s box that we opened helped us in a lot of areas,” Laman said. “But in the sake of valuable knowledge, you have to specialize and be incredibly niche for anything like that to matter as much as it once did.”

Reach Jack Miller at or on Twitter @millerjack02