With campus operations reduced for the rest of the semester, Carolina’s schools and departments are getting creative to help future Tar Heels connect with the University.
The Office of Undergraduate Admissions and other departments on campus have created digital experiences to interact with prospective and recently admitted students.
“There’s a lot of uncertainty right now,” said Johnston King, director of admissions at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. “We’re very empathetic to the students who are having to make a decision of where to enroll this upcoming fall. It’s so important for us to be able to build those relationships with our incoming students and alleviate some of their concerns.”
Connecting with incoming first-year students
This week, the Office of Undergraduate Admissions launched Community at Carolina, a custom social network, which helps admitted undergraduate students virtually meet their new classmates. Through Community at Carolina, students can join various groups that can connect them to other Tar Heels with shared interests or life experiences.
The platform also provides a place for incoming first-year students to receive information from campus partners, ask questions and introduce themselves to their new community.
The office also started offering daily virtual campus information sessions and tours that allow prospective students to ask current undergraduates about campus life.
Stephen Farmer, vice provost for enrollment and undergraduate admissions, said his team recognizes that this is a challenging time for students. With admissions events canceled through July 1 due to COVID-19, he hopes that these virtual opportunities will provide future Tar Heels a Carolina experience.
“We decided to go virtual because our students need UNC to connect with them where they are,” Farmer said. “We’re grieving that we can’t connect face-to-face. But we’re going to do our best to prove to people that they belong at UNC. When all this settles out, we’ll still be here, and we’ll be ready for them to leave their heelprint.”
Building relationships around the world
The admissions team at Gillings School of Global Public Health is also working to connect with students where they are by transitioning its traditional all-day program for admitted graduate students to a virtual event.
King said the move to an online format increased the opportunity to engage with incoming students from all over the world.
“During the admissions process, we want people to feel valued, informed and respected,” King said. “Current students, faculty and staff have gone out of their way to make themselves available to connect with the admitted students.”
Resources for prospective students
To support all Carolina’s future master’s and doctoral students, the Graduate School created a coronavirus webpage that provides answers on how COVID-19 is affecting the school’s admissions process.
The webpage includes policy updates, campus announcements and other resources to help to reduce any feelings of uncertainty for applicants.
“Nobody knows where the world will be in six weeks’ time,” said Suzanne Barbour, dean of the Graduate School. “We want people to know that we recognize their challenges and are here to help them the best that we can.”