Roosevelt hosts virtual college visits for seniors

How seniors are staying in the college loop while online

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Before high school even started, seniors have dreamed about college; the visits, being accepted, staying in a dorm – but with COVID-19, all of those dreams are being looked at differently.
“Getting college information to the seniors is something I really worried about this year,” Career Resource counselor Michelle Morris said. “September and October are my biggest months for college visits, and I knew we weren’t going to be able to bring schools in.”
Approaching the beginning of the school year, Morris talked with former technology coach and current social studies teacher George Purdu about how to get in touch with students.
“Mr. Purdu suggested setting up a google classroom for the CRC,” Morris said. “So that’s what we ended up doing, and we’ve been doing visits via Zoom on Wednesdays.”
Senior Logan Neal recently attended one of these college visits.
“I was visiting Wayne State University,” Neal said. “I had been in the process of applying, and they had good information on what I want to go into.”
During this meeting, students, counselors, and professors from Wayne State ran multiple Zooms, allowing seniors to visit any that they were interested in.
“All of their explanations were done on power points,” Neal said. “They told us about different programs for majors, as well as scholarship and financial aid information.”
Another senior who participated in an online visit this month is Erica Taub.
“I took an online tour of Northern Michigan University,” Taub said. “I originally had a campus visit that same day, but it got canceled due to COVID, so they offered to give me the tour on Zoom.”
Rather than using powerpoints like Wayne State, Northern had multiple videos to show the seniors.
“They had a virtual video of the campus,” Taub said. “While playing the video they explained where everything was, and showed me what the dorms looked like.”
Morris attends all of these college visits, just as she would have in person so that she can pass along information about the college, and also give any information needed.
“I’m usually multi-tasking through the meetings, but I’m listening in enough so I can jump in if a college rep asks about a specific GPA or something like that,” Morris said. “I also can give some personal information to the reps about the student they are meeting with, and what that student is involved in.”
Being online, in general, has been a challenge for many students, and making college decisions during all of this can be stressful and time consuming for many students.
“[Seniors] aren’t really thinking about college because they are still in ‘hold mode’,” Morris said. “I’ve gotten a few students in the last couple weeks that have started panicking and saying that they need to start planning, but early action deadlines have all been surpassed now.”
One benefit for the seniors this year while applying for colleges, is that most colleges have decided to make a test score optional for admission.
“It is honestly the one nice thing that COVID has done for the seniors,” Morris said. “Students don’t have to report an SAT or ACT score, but some schools are replacing those scores with letters of recommendations and/or essays.”
Getting to experience these visits in person would-be students’ first choice, but they know that they are still getting the needed information for their future plans.
“I would have loved to visit in person rather than online to get the full experience of visiting my future college,” Taub said. “It was still a good experience online though, and I got to speak with seniors at Northern who gave me a lot of good information.”
There is no guarantee of whether COVID conditions will be better by Fall of 2021 or not, but seniors are hopeful for their college experience, whether it is at home, or on campus.
“If we are still online next year, I don’t think it will affect my college decision at all,” Neal said. “I’ll still be getting the information, just in a different way. But obviously, I’m hoping that, after all of this virus stuff, college will be a fresh start.”