College recruitment goes virtual

Source: (MGN)
Source: (MGN)(KNOE)
Published: May. 27, 2020 at 5:19 PM EDT
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College recruiting is going virtual. There’s no other option in the era of COVID, as College and University campuses around the country remain closed. Many of them are still waiting to see if the fall semester will be online or in person.

17-year-old Xander York is an incoming high school senior at Central Catholic High School and is shopping around for a college. Before COVID he was doing a lot of on-campus tours.

“You get to see the environment there and the culture. You get to see the student life, how the professors interact with the students. How the coaches interact with the students,” says Xander.

Today, he’s doing a virtual campus visit with Cornell College in Iowa. He’s interviewing with an admissions counselor and the college soccer coach. He will most likely end up choosing his college this way with no definitive return to campus for many colleges and universities.

“It’s basically for how your life is going to be for the next four years. So you kind of get a gauge for how that's going to end up,” says Xander.

Collin Palmer is the director of undergraduate admissions at the University of Toledo. “A student's ability to visit campus is one of the highest indicators of their likelihood to enroll and so that's been taken away from us,” says Palmer.

So College admissions counselors are using every available form of technology to engage virtually with students. “Whether it's appointments over zoom or web-x, or texting with a student or scheduling phone calls it's just completely changed.”

As a result, there’s no indication yet of how this will impact fall enrollment. Like other colleges and universities, UT has moved priority enrollment dates from May 1st to June 1st.

“We really understand people are on pause and we want to recognize that and respect that and be here to answer their questions. But not be like we need to know if you're going to attend the University of Toledo. Because so many things are still up in the air.”

For students like Xander, it’s all part of a new reality, everyone has to get used to it. “It's gotta go on, the world doesn't stop just because of this virus.”