The University of Maine Admissions office has made the decision to change their approach to encouraging the enrollment of high school students and potential transfer students. Rather than allowing students to tour the campus during the spring 2020 semester, virtual tours of the UMaine campus are being offered due to health concerns raised by the spread of the coronavirus.
While virtual tours have previously been available online through the UMaine admissions homepage, Taylor Ward, the associate director of admissions, noted that the admissions office worked throughout the week of March 8 to produce a more comprehensive and inclusive virtual tour for students who would not be able to visit the campus in the spring.
The welcome page to the virtual UMaine tour greets future Black Bears with a welcome video from President Joan Ferrini-Mundy of the UMaine Orono and UMaine Machias campuses. In her introduction, Ferrini-Mundy addresses COVID-19 and extends her full support to the UMaine community and prospective students.
“With the rapidly evolving COVID-19 situation, our first priority is the safety and wellbeing of our students, current and future,” Ferrini-Mundy said in the welcome video. “While an actual tour of campus on Accepted Students Day is not feasible right now, another experience is.”
Instead of hosting an in-person accepted students day for high schoolers and transfer students who have already been accepted to UMaine, Virtual UMaine will act as a replacement until students can visit campus. Each accepted student will personally receive an invitation to the web tour, much as they would receive a personalized invitation and packet of resources for Accepted Students Day.
“Seniors, this is hard and adding a stress above and beyond normal,” Ward commented on the UMaine Admissions Facebook page. “Although these disruptions are challenging, please know we are [addressing these challenges] so your next four years here at UMaine are the best they can be!”
The virtual experience has a number of resources to answer questions related to admission and transitioning to become a Black Bear. The page has directories for staff members, information on how to navigate through the services that UMaine provides to its students and various other links that serve to inform prospective students on the colleges and programs that UMaine supports.
The admissions team updates the Virtual UMaine page daily with new information to draw future students’ attention. There are currently informational videos and slideshows available regarding the campus facilities, major-specific inquiries and options available for one-on-one meetings.
“We are looking at all of [the factors that have affected students amid the COVID-19 pandemic]. We understand the disruption this is causing to everyone and [that it is] really adding a lot to the college decision process,” Ward noted through the UMaine Admissions Facebook page. “Our Office of Financial Aid is staffed and ready to help work through the financial realities of college. In terms of how this will all work, we are all working tirelessly to get you the information you need and to answer these tough questions. Please don’t hesitate to contact the Admissions Office and we can help direct you.”
For more information and to access Virtual UMaine tours, visit go.umaine.edu/virtualuniversityofmaine/. Additionally, students and families with further questions regarding UMaine can direct inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.