At RaiseMe we’ve always looked to our partners and the higher ed community for guidance, and have found that right now it is especially important to learn from and lean on each other.
That’s why we’re bringing you a special series highlighting insights from regional admissions staff.
Emily Nicotera, Senior Recruitment Officer, University of Toronto
What was your role like before COVID-19?
I’m based in Toronto and we don’t typically work from home, so I would be in the office, except during travel season. In the spring I would normally have at least two trips, usually one in the Chicago area and one to Vancouver. These trips would be a mix of school visits, fairs, and U of T-hosted events.
How has the way you communicated with students changed since COVID-19?
Since the in-person meetings aren’t an option right now, we’re trying to make ourselves as available as possible to students and counselors who have questions for us. We still have access to our office phone lines, so we can be reached easily by phone and email. We are also creating a robust schedule of webcasts for students in different parts of the world. We’re planning to hold regular live sessions with question-and-answer components so that we can interact with students as much as possible rather than posting a pre-recorded presentation online.
How are you responding to the needs of students and parents right now?
Our admissions team is trying to be as flexible as possible and to make decisions about our final grade requirements based on the curriculums that students are completing. Our communications team worked tremendously hard to create a newly admitted student portal where these students can see a video message from the University’s President, updates about our COVID-19 policies, an “instant” chat feature, and personalized invitations to connect with us based on their interests. We’ve also published a video with a scrollable, 360-degree view of our campuses and are working on new ways for high school students to connect with current U of T students — since we don’t know when our tours will be up and running again.
What tools are you using to engage students in your territory in lieu of in-person meetings and events?
We are a Slate school, so most of our webcasts and chats are hosted on Slate’s platform, especially for applicants and admitted students. We’re also using traditional phone calls, Zoom, WhatsApp Business, GoToMeeting, and good old emails.
What’s something important that you’ve learned over the last couple of weeks?
I think, professionally, this has been a reminder of how much I like working with students directly and helping them through the process. I really miss being able to connect with students and counselors on the road and visit with families who come to campus for tours.
“I think, professionally, this has been a reminder of how much I like working with students directly and helping them through the process. “
Emily Nicotera @UofT
Want to learn more about how RaiseMe can support your virtual recruiting efforts? Contact us here.