Even though South Dakota State University is closed to the public and faculty and staff are working remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, that hasn’t slowed the Office of Admissions staff from connecting with potential students through virtual visits, phone calls and personal notes.
According to Office of Admissions director Shawn Helmbolt, approximately 450 individuals and an additional 20 groups of high school students had campus visits canceled by the COVID-19 pandemic. Through calls, texts, emails and personal notes, Admissions staff has communicated with prospects, admitted students, families and high school counselors about the cancellation of visits and other on-campus activities. Individuals have been directed to the virtual options and encouraged to attend future programs/events.
“Many have shown interest in rescheduling actual campus visits later in May, when we currently plan to resume. Our team is rallying around several initiatives to engage with our incoming classes of prospective students,” Helmbolt said. “We have been elevating our personal outreach to prospective and admitted students to provide support through their search and decision process.
These initiatives include:
- One-on-One Virtual Visits are offered daily at 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m. Students can schedule a live Zoom meeting with an Admissions counselor and a financial aid counselor to talk through the next steps of the admissions process, start to explore SDSU or gather information.
- Virtual Student Panels are held at 3 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Admissions Ambassadors take questions, offer insight and provide information to any prospective or admitted student who joins live via Zoom.
- Explore from Home sessions are offered on explore-home. Options include a recorded Admissions information session, links to virtual campus tour videos and videos of student testimonials. Academic departments will also have information videos available.
- Virtual Jackrabbit Previews are offered Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.. These Zoom sessions will provide an Admissions information session and a Q&A with Admissions staff. Participants will also have the option to add a virtual appointment with a representative from one of our academic departments.
- The webpage Admissions – COVID-19 FAQ has answers related to pandemic situations for undergraduate first-time and transfer students, international students, parents and school counselors.
“Prospective students and their families are still thinking about college, but right now they’re more focused on COVID-19 concerns,” Helmbolt said. “We understand completely and are offering support where we can, providing resources where appropriate and demonstrating the genuine care SDSU has for its students.”