Date of Defense


Date of Graduation




First Advisor

Christine Moser

Second Advisor

Alan Poling


Over the past year it has become clear that the COVID-19 pandemic has drastically changed college students’ everyday lives. Students are less likely to be employed or rely less on wage income and are also less likely to get very ill and die because of COVID-19. Moreover, courses moving online, loss of social connection, and drastic changes in the lives of students’ parents and other family has negatively impacted many students' ability to thrive. In order to measure the impact of COVID-19 on the student experience at Western Michigan University, I conducted a survey of students based on a survey used by over 20 colleges and universities.

I find that student experiences varied widely. Most students were at least satisfied with Western Michigan University’s overall response to the COVID-19 pandemic and students continue to feel as though they belong at Western Michigan University. Consistent with other studies, one-third of Western Michigan University respondents did have trouble paying for school. Additionally, mental health and stability were a concern for a large number. Mental health has shown itself to be a large concern in other studies looking at the impact of COVID-19 on students. Finally, consistent with other studies, I found that a significant number of Western Michigan University students believe COVID-19 will delay their graduation. However, it does not appear that most of those who responded plan to stop taking courses at Western Michigan University altogether because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Understanding the magnitude of the pandemic’s effect on students’ lives at Western Michigan University will aid in the University supporting its current student population as well as ensuring the university is set up to support students holistically long term. This thesis aims to review current literature surrounding the impact of COVID-19 on students, comprehensively explain how this survey, specifically, was administered, how each survey question was responded to, highlight respondent demography, and discuss how we can move forward, together.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Open Access

Thiry Thesis Presentation.pdf (343 kB)
Defense Presentation