Alyssa Rosenthal: A universally accessible admitted students day

I did not make it to GW for April Visit Days. I’m from Utah, and the distance was too great to travel for the one-day event.

But I still wanted to learn more about the University before sending in my tuition deposit. So I scoured the University’s website, but there was little worthwhile information, save for an admissions blog and a few briefs about what my life as a Colonial could be.

GW should give those who can not make the trip to campus the resources to experience GW before making a final enrollment decision. Students need to see more than a few pamphlets, and thanks to the technology available today, this is possible.

To cater to students unable to travel for April Visit Days, the University should offer a virtual admitted students day where prospective students can tour GW, get students’ perspectives and even see what the residence halls are like.

The website could make use of pictures of residence hall rooms, as well as answers to common April Visit Day questions such as, “Can I choose how many people I want to live with?” or, “Is the Mount Vernon Campus the same as Colonial Mount Vernon?” It might seem silly, but getting friendly answers to parent and student concerns often give the last wave of relief before students come to GW. It could provide a video of the average STAR tour, with the bubbly personalities of tour guides to help settle last-minute enrollment qualms.

Prospective students would be able to experience GW before matriculating. Student Admissions Representatives and the Office of Undergraduate Admissions already do an excellent job of selling the University to prospective students, but it is important that the University also targets those who can’t make it to D.C.

The University will offer virtual campus tours beginning this summer, but these will be year-round resources. So in addition, the University should create virtual admitted students days to engage students in the college acceptance process.

Other colleges across the country already offer prospective students ways to engage their admissions departments and campuses, even if those students can’t step foot on them. Villanova University has admissions representatives walk viewers through a virtual tour of campus. Rice University provides panoramic views of everything from buildings to the inside of dorm rooms. The University of California-Berkeley website has virtual tours and an informative, interactive map.

GW needs to be next on that list.

It is time the University rethinks its focus and gives April visits a chance to reach those perceived to be out of reach by embracing the recent growth in technology. With all the boasting about being ahead of the curve, the University must take this chance to show admitted students just how forward-thinking and accepting it really can be.

Alyssa Rosenthal, a sophomore majoring in political communication, is a Hatchet columnist.

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