Since March, Ohio University has fleshed out its online system so prospective students can receive the best virtual experience possible while making their college decision.
OU announced it was extending its spring break and sending students home in March, due to precautions to stop the spread of COVID-19. With many in-person events canceled, the process of new student recruitment was complicated.
College visits and events have been moved online, but plans are in place to allow for in-person visits and events as soon as it becomes safe again. Prospective students can go online to OU’s website to look for these virtual events and visits, as well as plan virtual meetings with admissions staff, financial aid advisors and current OU students.
“The Undergraduate Admissions website provides information about ways we are committed to being flexible and supporting families during the admissions process,” Candace Boeninger, interim vice provost for Strategic Enrollment Management, said in an email.
OU is making students aware of its current protocols through Be Safe Bobcats, a part of OU’s website. On the website, new students can find resources that current students are using to manage online schooling. These resources include tools such as mental health resources, technology resources and international student support.
OU is also continuing high school visits and attending college fairs across the nation, Boeninger said. The university also engages with community college partners and community-based organizations in safe, coronavirus-conscious ways.
OU is also utilizing social media posts, email, text, phone call and mailed materials to engage with prospective students.
“Ohio University has faced many obstacles during its 216-year history, but our commitment to academic excellence, a life-changing college experience, and a lifelong partnership that supports students now and forever never changes,” Boeninger said in an email.
OU is also supporting students through extending deadlines, waiving applications fees and supporting changes in academic plans, Boeninger said.
With the future being so uncertain, some students are looking for colleges close to home. Others are still hopeful for an exciting college experience and look forward to a future they may have at OU.
Macy Metzger, a senior at Aurora High School in Aurora, Ohio, which has about 1,000 students, said she wants to study nutrition/dietetics. She thinks OU would be a great college for her.
“I am looking at OU because I know people who have went there and who go there now and absolutely love it,” Metzger said in a message. “I have heard nothing but good things and I love the campus.”
In comparison to other schools, Metzger believes OU has done a great job keeping students in the know. Important deadlines have been clear and there have been many virtual tools for her to learn more about the university, despite not being about to visit in person right now.
Senior Alyssa Carfagna has found similar results, although her schooling experience has been a bit different.
Carfagna attends Bishop Hartley High School, a small, private high school in Columbus, Ohio, with about 700 students. Although she’s unsure of her major yet, Carfagna is interested in political science or education.
“Ohio University is one of my top choices because my mom went there and I have heard a lot of good things about it!” Carfagna said in an email.
Carfagna admires OU’s efforts to keep students safe by keeping students home and requiring masks to be worn on campus. Current students have been a huge help for Carfagna, as they have always been open to answer her questions about the campus and online classes, she said.
Although the coronavirus has impacted much of life for high school students as they look toward their future college careers, OU is continuing to make virtual experiences the best it can.
“While on-campus visits and events have been temporarily suspended, we look forward to meeting all our future Bobcats in-person as soon as possible,” Boeninger said in an email.