Thousands of high school students and their families visit the University of Nebraska-Lincoln each year to get a feel for what could become their future home away from home.
All of those daily visits, as well as the large-scale recruiting events that bring roughly 10,000 people to campus over the course of a school year, have been canceled until the COVID-19 pandemic subsides, however.
The opportunity to hear from faculty in an area of academic interest, admissions counselors and current college students has gone -- like most things in a social distancing world -- virtual.
Abby Freeman, UNL's director of admissions, said the new paradigm for campus visits, a combination of video conferences and live chats, started this week.
"We would obviously prefer we could host them on campus or go visit their high schools, but everyone understands that's just not the reality of the situation," she said.
Before coronavirus, prospective students could arrive on campus for a series of one-on-one conversations, and UNL recruiters could nimbly pivot if a student indicated they were interested in something else.
The online approach takes much more effort, Freeman said. In addition to planning sessions and ensuring the technology works, UNL's admissions team also has to be more thorough in their follow-up to ensure a student's questions are answered.
Freeman said UNL wants to ensure they are prepared to meet the needs of students, who are bringing a wide array of experiences with them.
"I definitely think we are moving quickly and have personalized it as fast as we can," she said.
-- Chris Dunker
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