Facing Virtual Realities
Facing Virtual Realities
LC Admissions Recruitment During COVID
If you were to look at the admissions process just 10 years ago, it would drastically differ from the current undertaking facing today’s college admissions teams. Along with changes in technology, no college or university could have prepared for a worldwide pandemic in which the tried and true ways of helping high school students transition to college would be tested.
The world of admissions fairs and events suddenly disappeared during the first year of the COVID pandemic, and the effects are still evident in this recruitment cycle. Director of Admissions, Timyra Staton, at Louisburg College states, “Some of the changes due to COVID have been the amount of students allowed to come to events, I can no longer see the faces of prospective students due to masks, and I can no longer shake their hands to introduce myself. Schools are canceling more than usual. Each school has their own protocol, so it's unpredictable whether or not you'll be able to visit the high schools you planned to go to.” This presents a problem not just for recruiters, but for the students who would normally attend these events to learn more about college. Staton says, “College fairs are important because they expose students to more college options and give them a place to ask questions. By us [Louisburg College] being there face-to-face, we're able to answer these questions and more.”
The challenges presented in this season, however, did not come without silver linings. The tools counselors developed to combat the loss of face-to-face interaction proved to be an invaluable discovery for recruiters. For the Louisburg College admissions team, adding more technology to the process has been a step forward in helping students and families find their college home. “Students seem to respond more and better with technology. We find that texting students may get a quicker response versus sending then emails all the time. We have also implemented sending quick videos in our emails so they can hear quick directions versus reading a long email. It feels more like we're meeting them at their level to create a relationship with them and their families,” says Staton. Additionally, current students found a role in the recruitment process by sharing their college experience. Admissions Counselor Hunter Kirby reflects, “My favorite thing we did was involve our students more. We had current and former students record videos about their LC experience. I feel this appealed to a prospective student more so than anything an admissions counselor could say.”
With these new avenues of communication, Louisburg admissions is still participating in traditional recruitment practices with an emphasis on safety and care. Staton describes some of the changes to Louisburg recruitment,
We have put things into place where it can be more convenient and safe for families. Although we offer on-campus visits, we also offer virtual visits for those whose situations do not allow them to make it to campus. We have also become test-optional for students who may not be able to find testing centers to take their SAT or ACT tests.
Kirby believes the new technological additions to recruitment help with flexibility; “With virtual visits, there are less variables that affect a visitor’s experience like having to take a day off work, traffic, or weather conditions.” The LC admissions team recognized that recruitment had to change during these unprecedented times, and they are rising to the challenge by supporting students individually and providing an as-normal-as-possible college decision experience in the wake of COVID-19.
One of the ways the admissions recruitment world is changing is with virtual college fairs, and the College Fairs Online fair on October 18-23, 2021 is fast approaching. Louisburg admissions counselors will be available in a virtual booth where students can get an overview of Louisburg College with the click of a button. It is a six-day, 24-hours a day fair. Students can check into a booth at any time to make inquiries and leave information for counselors to follow up with them. If you’re interested in attending the College Fairs Online fair, you can register at https://collegefairsonline.com/students/.