As Long Island universities enter a second year managing the COVID-19 pandemic, New York Tech Vice President for Enrollment Management Joseph Posillico, Ed.D., CPA, joined a panel of enrollment experts for the Herald Inside LI webinar series “Staying Local for College.” At the April 8 event, panelists reflected on the last year and how many of the changes they made to meet required public safety measures are here to stay.
For the Fall 2021 semester, there is a renewed sense of optimism around vaccinations and the possibility of gathering in person. However, some pandemic adjustments will remain, including virtual events, test-optional admissions, hybrid and online courses, and redesigned campuses for public health safety. The keyword is flexibility, noted the panelists, and higher education will continue to listen and adapt to student preferences in the future.
“The biggest change is how many colleges and universities have become test-optional, either for this year, like New York Tech, or permanently,” said Posillico. “This change has helped students apply to colleges that previously they may have felt reluctant to consider, and reduced the stress levels associated with test-taking. The application process is now more of a well-rounded view of a student’s high school accomplishments, extracurricular activities, and strength of curriculum.”
A new virtual landscape has offered colleges the opportunity to expand their reach domestically and internationally in the admissions process. College fairs, open houses, and accepted student days were held virtually in 2020, and although some students have started to return to campus for college tours, these options will remain.
Said Posillico, “Other changes, of course, include the fact that our admissions events have been virtual this year, allowing students from all over the country and all over the world to attend. As a result, we have been able to promote New York Tech to students who would otherwise not have been able to reach our campus for an event. Virtual events allow these far-flung prospective students to meet with faculty and enable us to chat with students and answer their questions in a way not possible prior to the pandemic.”
Enrollment is just the beginning of a student’s life-long relationship with a higher education institution. Student engagement is important from the time of the initial application, through internships and professional development with career services, and later as alumni to network or possibly become a donor for future generations.
The panelists discussed the financial hardship that many students are facing and the increased resources available, including government assistance through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund, grants, merit and need-based scholarships, and direct student assistance. There is also a renewed emphasis on mental health services, with all campuses offering counseling and additional resources for students, faculty, and staff.
Watch the full conversation.
- Marguerite Lane, assistant vice president for enrollment management, Molloy College
- Christine Murphy, vice president for enrollment management, St. Joseph’s College
- Robert A. Oliva, assistant vice president for enrollment management, St. Francis College
- Joseph Posillico, vice president for enrollment management New York Institute of Technology
- Stephanie Espina, director of undergraduate admissions, Adelphi University
By Carol Lane