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Written by Allison Nitch
April 3, 2020
Despite the world’s unprecedented new normal of staying home and practicing social distancing to help flatten the coronavirus curve, Seattle University’s Undergraduate Admissions (UG) team has quickly adapted to the challenges at hand. Through Admitted Students Virtual Receptions, the class of ’24 has the opportunity to celebrate their admission, connect and ask questions.
“Whether it’s a virtual admitted student reception or a 1,000-person admitted student day on our gorgeous campus, it’s critical that we show students what makes a Seattle U education one-of-a-kind,” says UG Admissions Director James Miller.
The Admissions team knew it had to be nimble, but weren’t certain what the solution would ultimately look like. “We needed to take a step back as coronavirus became more of reality and all of our in-person events had to be cancelled,” says Adrian Hodos, UG Admissions Assistant Director of Events & Enrollment Services.
After much consideration “we modeled the virtual event experience after our regional receptions, where our admissions counselors and members of the Seattle U community travel across the country to meet with admitted students and answer their questions,” says Hodos.
The first virtual reception for admitted first-year and transfer students was March 29 through the collective support of admissions counselors, faculty and the offices of career engagement, financial aid, student development and more. A second reception was offered March 31.
“I’m grateful for the SU community’s support and proud of our Admissions team for the focus and intentionality that has been directed toward our admitted and newly enrolled students,” says Patrick McCarthy, UG Admissions Assistant Director of Marketing & Outreach.
Events such as this are vital for enrollment because “a Seattle U education—and by extension a Jesuit education—is defined by the opportunity to connect meaningfully with our community of staff and scholars who will help you to grow, push you to change and challenge you to see the world differently,” says Miller.
More than 530 students participated during the inaugural live-streaming event—400 of which transitioned to the Zoom Q&A chat rooms. In total, 35 percent of attendees represented Washington state and the remaining 65 percent were from out-of-state. The most recent reception welcomed nearly 400 students, with 270 participating in Zoom Q&A chat rooms. In total, 35 percent of attendees represented Washington state and the remaining 65 percent were from out-of-state.
The hour-long reception format consists of pre-recorded videos streaming on Vimeo (speakers recorded footage from home due to Washington state’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” initiative) alongside a live chat with Admissions staff. Immediately following the formal program, guests are invited to participate in the Zoom interaction.
What stood out most to Hodos was an email she received from a parent after the first reception. “They wrote, ‘I can tell how much you care about every student,’ which is so meaningful considering the physical distance and amount of attendees,” she says.
A favorite post-reception moment for Miller was “leaving our Q&A rooms open and noticing that students hung around and chatted with one another. It’s a reminder that we don’t just provide information, but access to a meaningful community.”
Two more virtual receptions in April will be scheduled soon. In the coming months, additional virtual Q&A programs will focus specifically on select academic programs and Housing & Residence Life.
Learn more at https://www.seattleu.edu/admissions/stay-connected/
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