Kaitlyn Tambasco, Managing News Editor
While Utica College has already transitioned to an online format, plans for future events are still up in the air. Commencement was postponed, residential students are unsure about when they can come back to campus to gather their belongings and it is still unknown about when things will go back to “normal” again.
As far as the incoming freshman class and the graduating class of 2024, the admissions team has been working virtually with newly accepted students.
President Laura Casamento spoke about this in a video that was posted on UC’s social media platforms on April 7.
“Our admissions team has effectively moved their recruitment efforts into the virtual space, engaging nearly 400 future pioneers in accepted student day events held online in the past two weekends,” Casamento said in the video.
Senior Vice President of Student Life and Enrollment Jeff Gates gave insight on the current plans for the class of 2024. Joanne Pluff, associate director of admissions and Jessica Nelson, executive director of admissions, were not available to comment.
Gates said because of COVID-19, all accepted students are being contacted in different ways, such as through text messages, emails and phone calls. Admission counselors are also reaching out to students and their families to set up virtual meetings.
“We have had great responses to our virtual admissions interviews and our first Virtual
Accepted Student Day had over 260 students engage; and the one from this past Saturday we had over 130,” Gates said. We have many other virtual events planned to give every student the opportunity to virtually visit UC.”
Gates said at this time, plans are still moving forward with orientation and move-in day. However, COVID-19 and the impact it is making on the Utica College community, is still being monitored. He said if the situation changes, the college will respond accordingly.
“The UC community has demonstrated great resiliency given the difficult circumstances,” Gates said. “I’m confident that if the situation required us to adjust the start of the fall semester, we would determine an appropriate plan of action with feedback from our incoming students and their families.”
Gates did point out that given the circumstances, the deposit deadline has been moved from May 1 to June 1. In a message that was sent to accepted students, CarnegieDartlet released a survey of 4,848 high school seniors and found that two-thirds say that a May 1 deadline to reply to an offer of admission was unreasonable.
A backup plan for the fall class has not been fleshed out completely, as Gates said the college is mainly focused on completing the Spring term and getting registration underway for Summer and Fall 2020.
Gates added that from a recruitment prospective, the impact of COVID-19 goes beyond current students at UC and the incoming first-year, transfer and graduate students. Students just entering the college search process have been thrown a curveball, too and these students have been reached out to as well.
Students were reminded that UC is test optional for SAT and ACT scores, and that a student’s high school grade point average, writing ability, leadership skills, volunteer work and the promise the student might bring to Utica, is what is taken into consideration when accepting students.
“We want the fall semester to begin on time,” Gates said. “We are eager to have our students back; we are eager to welcome our new students to UC. We are meeting daily, digesting all of the information that we are being given and as of this writing all of our focus is on returning in the fall.”