The Events Are Virtual But the Connections Are Real

A big hit with incoming students, Champlain’s Virtual Admitted Student Events are setting record-breaking attendance numbers.

Nearly 800 admitted students have registered for Champlain College’s April Virtual Admitted Student Events, far surpassing the typical number of students we’ve welcomed to campus for Admitted Student Days in years past. Admitted Student Days are important milestones for students and families. They are often the moment when students make their final decision about a college. Admitted students get to try the college on for size to see if it’s the right fit for them. They meet future classmates, get to know their professors, and really dig into a school’s offerings.

This year, because of COVID-19, we couldn’t hold our usual in-person Admitted Student Days, so a group at Champlain came up with an inventive way to deliver them virtually.

“We met in-person as a team only once, on Friday, March 13th, the week before campus closed,” says Meghan Haley, Champlain’s Assistant Vice President of Marketing, who, along with Director of Admissions, Diane Soboski, led the effort to bring Champlain’s events to life virtually. “In that meeting we reviewed the experiences and information attendees would have received at our on-campus Admitted Student Days and quickly realized we needed to reimagine everything as a series of virtual events, rather than one full-day experience.” 

Admitted Students receive a Champlain College t-shirt when they sign up for a Virtual Admitted Student Event.

The result was the quick creation of more than 75 virtual events, some launching just one week after the initial team meeting. All events can be found on Champlain’s admitted student site, and were promoted to students and their families via email and social media.

Champlain’s virtual events are divided into two categories. The first—offered through personal appointments, live webinars, and live panel discussions—provides essential information and connects students and families with faculty and staff who can answer questions about academics, enrollment, financial aid, and residential life.

“We know students and families have a lot of important questions about what it’s like to study and live at Champlain and we want to make it easy for them to get answers by connecting them to the experts they would have met had they come to campus,” notes Soboski, who led the effort to organize these events.

The second category, which is more difficult to deliver virtually, helps students and families get to know the Champlain community. “One of the things we’ve heard from families in the past is that students finally ‘found their people’ when they attended our on-campus Admitted Student Day,” says Haley, who led the development of the College’s more experiential Virtual Admitted Student Event. “We wanted to design an event that gives students a chance to make those connections—find their people—and still celebrate this unforgettable moment in their college decision journey.” 

Champlain’s beautiful Virtual Admitted Student Event presentation slides were designed and animated by Brielle Hansen, a 2019 Visual Communication Design alumna.

To help admitted students get to know each other and the Champlain community, the team used Kahoot!, an online learning trivia platform, to bring campus and Burlington to life in a fun and engaging way. The game was hosted by representatives from Champlain’s Enrollment Team—a group already familiar to admitted students and their families. The event featured encouraging messages from current students and a warm welcome from Champlain’s Interim President Dr. Laurie Quinn, but most importantly it introduced admitted students to each other.

“We really wanted the event to be about them—the future Champlain Class of 2024—to give them a sense of who their future classmates could be,” says Haley. Champlain put out a call on social media for admitted students to submit their own video introductions. “The response was amazing,” says Haley. “It reinforced how special this pool of admitted students is. Their videos were incredibly creative and quite moving.”

Admitted students sent videos introducing themselves.

Champlain is offering four experiential Admitted Student Events over two consecutive Saturdays. The first two events occurred this past Saturday, April 18, and the next two will happen this coming Saturday, April 25, from 12:00–2:00 PM and 3:00–5:00 PM (EST). 

The response has been overwhelmingly positive. Kim Lee, a parent of an admitted student who joined the event with her son, said she was “absolutely amazed at Champlain’s ability to move to remote recruitment in such a short period of time.” Champlain is now #1 on their list because of its “exceptional ability to transition during this time of crisis,” says Lee.

“What a great event! So much warmer than the other virtual experiences we’ve done. Frankly, Champlain’s was in a different world. We can’t wait to be part of the Champlain family,” said Eric Silverman, another parent of an admitted student.

Virtual Admitted Student Events bring campus and Burlington to life and help connect admitted students to each other.

“I am so proud of the team that put together these events,” says Lisa Bunders, Vice President of Enrollment Management. “They made sure the college decision process remains a special time for our admitted students and their families. We can’t wait to welcome the Class of 2024 to our community!”

Interested in joining a virtual event? On this page, you’ll find a number of virtual opportunities for admitted students to connect with our awesome Champlain community and have a good time learning more about Champlain. We look forward to hanging out with you online!

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