With campus closed for tours, the department is promoting new ways for students to learn about Texas Tech University.
For most high school seniors, the spring semester is full of exciting times with their friends and making decisions about where they will go to college in the coming months.
For the class of 2020, those final high school moments look significantly different due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Classes have moved online, sport seasons and events have been canceled and students are making decisions about their future without touring their potential college campuses.
With stay-at-home orders in effect for most states, and colleges moving their operations online as well, campuses are closed for tours and prospective student days, making it even harder for high school seniors and transfer students to make their college decisions.
At Texas Tech University, Undergraduate Admissions is changing its usual spring schedule to continue engaging with the students in new ways since it can't welcome them to campus. This includes promoting different events for prospective students to experience the spirit of Raiderland and what life could be like for them as Red Raiders.
"The cancellation of these programs creates a huge challenge, and we've had to adjust our strategy and efforts by creating opportunities for students to engage with us virtually," said Mitchel Locke, digital marketing manager for Enrollment Management. "It may be no surprise to those who call Texas Tech home, but data shows the most impactful experience that Undergraduate Admissions can provide prospective students is a visit to our campus. In fact, over half of students who take a campus tour end up enrolling at Texas Tech."
To give students as close to the full experience of the Texas Tech campus as possible during these difficult times, the office is promoting its virtual tour to prospective students. This allows them to hear the history and traditions of the university while immersed in a virtual-reality version of Texas Tech's campus from their phone, tablet or computer.
In addition to the virtual tour, Undergraduate Admissions has created a series of new online resources for students so they can have their Texas Tech questions answered. Some of these resources include providing updates via phone and text messages and hosting virtual events on Zoom.
Normally, these events would take place in person either on campus in Lubbock or at Texas Tech-hosted events around the country. Now, they're online sessions for admitted and prospective students, financial aid and scholarship information and parents. Students also can set up virtual one-on-one appointments with admissions counselors.
The office also is working with each academic college and key student service offices to create custom videos and digital resources for students to view online. Locke said these videos and events are likely the most impactful for students and their families because it gives them a chance to ask questions, get more information and interact with Red Raiders.
"I truly believe one of the best resources we have is our staff," Locke said. "I hope the West Texas hospitality and friendliness Texas Tech is known for is conveyed to students virtually."
It's the West Texas and Red Raider hospitality Locke thinks will help students feel welcome in Lubbock now and in the fall, despite the current uncertainty people are facing.
"Many things are different this year compared to previous years, but I'm encouraged by the university's commitment to offering flexible admissions policies, online orientation sessions, an enhanced Raider Welcome and an expanded Red Raider Guarantee program," Locke said. "We are hopeful that, in communicating these virtual resources and enhanced programming, students will feel ready to join the Red Raider family this fall."
Locke said no matter what institution students choose to attend, they should make the most informed decision they can without being able to visit a campus during the pandemic.
"Take a virtual tour. Attend a virtual admissions presentation. Meet with your admissions counselor. Reach out to friends or former classmates to hear about their experiences at their schools," Locke said. "This will help you make the best decision, and we certainly hope that decision is to become a Red Raider. We know the current situation is temporary and it will pass. Texas Tech University will be here waiting for you in the fall."