In spite of hesitations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, application and enrollment numbers at Virginia Wesleyan “are looking strong” according to Vice President for Enrollment Heather Campbell. Campbell claims that students do not seem any more hesitant than in years prior to apply or enroll at the university, but they are curious about the precautions being taken to keep the campus community safe.
“Students have always had a lot of questions before deciding to enroll since picking a college is a huge decision, but now the questions are just different,” Campbell said. “Now they want to know more about safety and what our COVID protocols are. They also want to know what happens to their financial aid if their family is impacted by COVID after they arrive.”
Additionally, the Batten Honors College has seen similar applicant numbers from previous years, the biggest difference being that the competition is now virtual.
One big difference from previous years is students’ general lack of access to the SAT and ACT exams, so the Office of Enrollment has had to take this into account when considering applicants. VWU was a score-optional school before the pandemic, but the past year’s difficulties accessing standardized tests have led to diminished numbers of score submissions.
With many aspects of enrollment moving online, virtual tours, information sessions and high school visits have become more widely available for prospective students.
“We offer virtual information sessions twice a week,” Campbell said. “[We host] Marlin Mondays which are topic specific information sessions, Marlins Day Open Houses, Batten Honors College information sessions, [and we] attend college fairs and high school visits, all virtually.”
Campbell states that even once restrictions are lifted and in-person activities are safe to resume, these options will still be available to anyone wishing to utilize them. So far, the biggest success of the virtual sessions has been making the VWU campus available to people all over the world from the comfort of their own homes.
By Will Farkas