The spring season is usually an exciting time for Sierra Nevada University’s future freshman class, as well as transfer students that plan to attend Sierra Nevada University as they plan their fall semester, but the coronavirus quarantine has created a shadow of uncertainty. SNU’s admissions department, normally busy accepting and registering students, as well as giving campus tours, is adjusting to the new reality.
“It is still early in the admissions process to fully know how COVID-19 will impact the numbers for Fall 2020,” SNU’s director of admissions Kieran Bennett said. “Based upon nationwide survey research of high school seniors, we do anticipate more first-year students confirming later than the historical May 1 decision deadline.”
With the expectation that many high school seniors and transfer students will not commit by the traditional deadline, right now admissions numbers are lower than normal, but there are still some students that have committed as of right now.
“Like many college and universities nationwide, we did see a slowdown in mid-March due to initial closures,” Bennett said. “However, our admissions counselors continue to have daily communication with admitted students regarding enrollment for fall 2020.”
Although admissions numbers are currently lower than the 125 student-admitted goal, a significant number of student enrollments do happen over the upcoming summer months, right until the beginning of the semester, according to Bennett.
With campus currently closed, many of the exciting experiences that incoming students are able to engage in have been canceled, including meeting other incoming students. However, the admissions department has been working towards making creative outlets for these students to engage with prior to their fall semester arrival.
“We are increasing our digital engagement with incoming students,” Bennett said. “At SNU, we want our incoming students to feel that sense of excitement to start a new journey. We are building up our digital engagement to provide incoming students a sense of community, even prior to setting foot on our campus. The ZeeMee app is one way that our incoming students are able to connect with one another and current students to build a network of friendships prior to coming to campus.”
The admissions department is also engaging students through Instagram live events, Zoom presentations by faculty members, and creative giveaways. Admissions is also currently developing a micro-website, which will be specifically dedicated to content for admitted students, including an interactive map of campus.
Since incoming students are not able to visit campus currently, this pandemic has also canceled in-person campus tours, which is a big part for many students and students’ families when committing to a college. Though these tours aren’t possible right now, the admissions department has been adamantly working towards creating an interactive space to make these students’ decision to commit easier.
“The campus tours play an important role in many students’ and their families’ decisions on where they want to attend college,” Bennett said. “At this time, we provide virtual tours and are developing an interactive map so that students and their families can “see” campus from their homes.”
The status of many athletes is also in question. During this isolating time, prospective athletes have also been affected with orders to stay inside, and away from the public. Even though the pandemic presents issues with scouting new athletes, SNU is still optimistic about sustaining the athletic department for the next academic school year.
“Chris Deleon, SNU’s Athletic Director, and all of the coaches are diligently recruiting scholar-athletes, and they have great stories to tell based on our athletic programs’ records of successes,” Bennett said. “We continue to receive applications from prospective student-athletes for Fall 2020.”
Although COVID-19 has created issues for incoming students to the SNU community, the admissions department is working hard towards providing these students with comfort, knowledge, and communication before they make the transition into their college careers.
“Of course, SNU’s primary focus is on the safety for all members of our campus community while still providing a uniquely valuable educational experience,” Bennett said. “The campus community is providing resources in an accessible manner to help incoming students and their families prepare for the start of their college career. From the admissions office to advising, to housing and student financial services, we want to provide a high level of support to our incoming students.
SNU’s admissions department can be contacted via email at [email protected]