Class of 2024 to make final college decisions virtually after WU campus closes

Ellie Ito | Staff Reporter

Given that many students admitted through the Regular Decision application cycle this year will finalize their college decisions without visiting campus, the Office of Undergraduate Admissions has adjusted their typical programming.

Photo by Grace Bruton

All visits to campus have been suspended until at least April 30. The Counselor Visit Program and Scholars Weekend have also been canceled.

Some of the new virtual options for prospective students include admitted student webinars, virtual tours and online trivia nights in order to facilitate connection between students and a campus that could be thousands of miles away for some. The Office of Undergraduate Admissions has also created an online engagement platform that allows admitted students to begin developing their communities.

“This has been especially hard not only for the admitted students and our staff, but also for the current students who help plan these events and make them fun and welcoming for the newest class,” Director of Admissions Emily Almas wrote in a statement to Student Life. “While we know these efforts are not the same as seeing our beautiful campus and meeting our exceptional community in person, we hope they can give admitted students an accurate sense of the Wash. U. experience.”

Students in the class of 2024 have expressed nervousness and frustration coming into next fall without having been able to have seen their home for the next four years.

“It’s been a little disappointing not being to visit or anticipate when things will go back to normal,” incoming freshman Angela Yokley wrote in a statement to Student Life. “There’s a lot of uncertainty regarding housing applications in April and a lot of students in the class of 2024 have been messaging about their nerves regarding the living situation.”

In addition to the resources being offered by admissions, incoming students who have already committed have also been given guidance throughout the process.

“The class of 2024 has a few GroupMe chats,” Early Decision admit Layan Alkilani wrote in a statement to Student Life. “Some of my fellow ED classmates and others who have toured have been answering questions and persuading RD admits to choose Wash. U.”

Despite financial aid officers being scattered in quarantine, admitted students have been receiving timely communication from the Office of Financial Aid as well as their aid packages.

“It’s been really easy to communicate with financial aid offers at this time which I’m so grateful for,” Yokley wrote. “They’ve been great at redirecting me to other resources to help me make my final decision on tuition options.”

The Admissions and Financial Aid Offices have also implemented efforts to remain in touch with rising high school seniors.

“We have transitioned to online information sessions in place of the WashU Near You sessions that were planned around the country this spring,” Almas wrote. “We have already hosted some of these online events, which allow for the presentation and live Q&A, and students and families seem to appreciate the ability to hear from their admissions officer and ask specific questions.”

Due to the outbreak, standardized tests have also been canceled and it remains uncertain when administration will begin again. Admissions has expressed willingness to be flexible in response to policy changes a prospective student’s school may implement.

“What is important is for students and families to know that we are going to be as supportive and responsive to their needs as we can and we are here for them in this process,” Almas continued.

It remains uncertain when admissions activities and other Washington University departments will return to normalcy.

“As Chancellor Martin said, these are extraordinary times. We want to go about our work in a way that acknowledges and is respectful of the current conditions, and so necessarily as conditions change, we will continue to evaluate our work,” Almas wrote. “I can’t predict right now what form that will take, but I do know that our decisions about admissions requirements will be based on our values as an institution.”

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