Jamison Van Andel
Since the onset of the pandemic, admissions programming has consisted of mainly virtual events. Admissions has invited prospective students to attend “Open House – Live” events featuring presentations and virtual tours of campus. Calvin also offers one-on-one chat sessions with Calvin representatives.
Director of undergraduate admissions Melissa Rousseau and associate director of admissions events Stephanie Brink said that offering virtual options has given prospective students multiple ways to access campus life, noting that many students have attended virtual open houses and virtual Career Pathways events before traveling to campus for an in-person tour.
“This multi-level approach has been successful in introducing students to Calvin while increasing their knowledge and excitement about starting here,” Rousseau and Brink said.
On-campus admissions programming has largely been limited to individual meetings with prospective students, with the volume of meetings fluctuating as COVID restrictions adapted throughout the school year.
Connecting with international students has been a challenge given coronavirus-related travel restrictions.
“Our international admissions team hasn’t been able to travel at all to key schools, cities, or recruitment fairs,” Rousseau and Brink said. “Their work has turned nearly 100% virtual and they have developed several innovative events to reach new students quite successfully.”
Admitted Student Day on March 26 marked the first group admissions event to take place on campus this year as Calvin hosted 82 students along with their guests. To social distance, visitors travelled in small groups around campus to different sessions on aspects of life on campus.
A second Admitted Student Day is scheduled to take place on April 16.
Rousseau and Brink said that feedback from students and parents concerning virtual events has been largely positive, with students especially gravitating to the opportunity to connect with current students and to participate in online Kahoot games at admissions events.
Calvin admissions plans to adapt its strategy based on what it has learned with the virtual format in the last few months. Prospective families can expect to see a number of virtual events even when COVID restrictions ease in the future. Online sessions for parents—some of which have garnered audiences of over 100 prospective parents and guardians—are a new pandemic-inspired innovation that is set to continue in the coming months.