Admitted students experience campus virtually

Jessica GuerrucciManaging Editor

Sofia RositaniReporter

Admitted students had to tour the campus virtually as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak,, but Director of Admissions Alick Letang said for the 1,000 students who attended, Southern staff still tried to highlight the adventure.

“We had to deliver some type of opportunity for students to connect with our community,” Letang said.

On April 15, the university held Admitted Students Day for potential incoming students to learn about the university despite them not being physically on the campus.

Letang said he wanted the students to be able to “survey the campus” and get their questions answered.

“We want to deliver that kind of impact for the students,” he said.

While the admitted students were still able to see what Southern offers virtually, Letang said it is different than going in person.

“When you are live of course you have that personal, you can touch, you can feel, you can see the excitement,” Letang said, “wherein virtual you are the looker and those on screen can’t tell how excited or how engaged.”

Letang also said they wanted to make sure the students are not feeling bored during or “check out” before the event ended.

Manning Landeck, an incoming freshman, said he attended admitted students day and plans to enter a media-related field of study.

“I really had no expectations,” he said. “I mean it was very informative.”

Although he said the event “went OK,” since the event was virtual he said he missed out on the chance to tour the university that the in-person experience would have given him.

Still, Manning said he is looking forward to being an Owl and is eager to get into classes where he can improve his public speaking.

Despite the shift to online, Letang said one of the benefits was that students did not have to stick to a schedule and students can go through the videos whenever they want.

“It’s like binge-watching,” he said. “You have the ability to go back and look at the videos over and over again.”

The in-person event limits students to a schedule, so Letang said some students would miss a certain event, but the online event allowed the university to “hit them with everything.”

From all the students logging in at once Letang said it created what he called a “bottleneck,” but the website did not crash and kept going.

“We kind of had our fingers crossed because we heard that some folks had seen issues,” said Letang. “It’s like when you open the flood gate of a water pipe and you open it too quickly and all the water starts to rush in. It creates this bottleneck.”

Due to COVID-19, Letang said the Office of Admissions has considered the impact the outbreak may have on admissions in the fall, but he said it is hard to speculate since they do not know what tomorrow holds or what restrictions will be placed upon them.

“We do know that things will not be the same,” said Letang. “We do know that, and that’s just evident over the years at universities that we’ve seen throughout our time — that things won’t be right back to normal.”

Letang said they will have to anticipate that there may be some students who fear coming to campus because they cannot maintain a safe distance from others and will opt to go online.

However, he said Southern is in a great position since it is a “cost-friendly” institution and it creates an option that is not just community college.

“We’re excited for tomorrow because no one ever knows what tomorrow holds,” he said. “We’re just making sure that we’re prepared to move forward in whatever restrictions are put in upon us as well as if we see an onslaught of new applications.”

Alyssa Masi, an incoming freshman, said she thought the event was a great experience.

“I got good insight on what the current students’ lives are like and their opinion on the school,” she said. “I also loved the virtual campus tour.”

Masi too said she missed out on the in-person experience and would have enjoyed one-on-one time, as well a group conversation with peers and other potential future Owls.

Even before the event, Masi said she already had made the commitment to Southern so it did not significantly alter her perspective.

“Other than the amount of inviting people they have there including students, ambassadors, and professors,” she said, “I pretty much already am in love with the school.

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