In order to stay connected to incoming and prospective students during COVID-19, the EWU Visitor Center has shifted to virtual tours.
With students unable to make campus visits before EWU closed to the public in March, and Admitted Student Day canceled, the Visitor Center was forced to make drastic changes to the way they normally do business.
“It took some time and a lot of work, but the Visitor Center is providing all services virtually,” said Crystal Medina, the events and visitation manager at EWU. “Our admissions recruiters are also offering virtual appointments and we hosted our Admitted Student Day virtually.”
Medina said taking a virtual tour is a simple process. An incoming or prospective student signs up at www.ewu.edu/virtual and is invited to a Zoom meeting. In the meeting, a student tour guide shares a Google Earth tour, photos and conducts normal tour stops just like they would on campus. The goal, according to Medina, is to make the tour as close to normal as possible.
“We encourage the tour participants to turn on their cameras and ask questions throughout the tour as if we were in person,” -Crystal Medina.
The Visitor Center is also holding webinars with other departments at EWU to provide students a robust virtual experience. Webinars on housing, financial aid, academics and campus life have already been conducted.
“[Webinars] give us the opportunity to stay connected and provide the best experience for our incoming class and our prospective students,” said Medina.
Medina said that the response to the virtual experience has been very positive, and also noted some benefits to the change.
“For some students, visiting campus is difficult because it involves traveling or taking a day off work or school,” said Medina. “We are reaching students who maybe wouldn’t have had the opportunity to visit in person.”
EWU will continue giving virtual tours, even once the campus opens in the future.
“Once you start doing something it’s hard not to continue it,” said Medina. “We’ll continue to offer virtual visits forever.”
Still, even with all the benefits of virtual tours, Medina knows that nothing can replace physically being on the campus.
“We still encourage prospective students to visit campus when it is safe to do so,” said Medina. “The virtual experience is great but we feel that it’s still important to visit in person if the student is able to.”