Giving It the New College Try: Admissions Office Adjusts to COVID-19 Protocols

by The Cowl Editor on November 12, 2020


Student in Friars Club pictured giving a tour before the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo courtesy of Providence College.

by Emily Ball ’22

News Guest Writer/Opinion Staff

With the current pandemic, the future class of 2025 has been dealt an unfair hand. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, their senior year looks drastically different than they expected, and their college application process has been more complicated given a lack of physical interaction with college campuses.

Associate vice president and dean of admission and financial aid Raul Fonts said on the topic, “The pandemic has had an enormous impact on families/students’ ability to determine where they would apply. Many students have not had the opportunity to visit college campuses physically, and while virtual programs and tours assist with the college process, I don’t think it can replace the impact of visiting a campus.”

Given these circumstances, the Providence College Office of Admission has been very accommodating with the prospective class, announcing several new initiatives to help deal with these unprecedented times.

In an email to prospective students, the Admission Office stated, “The Early Action and Early Decision I application deadlines have been extended until November 15. For your first year in college (fall 2021 and spring 2022), rentals of any textbooks required for your courses will be provided to you free of charge through our partners at the campus bookstore. The Office of Admission will waive the $65 application fee for any student who submits their Common Application Oct. 23-25. Beyond those dates, we will continue to honor fee waivers for those who meet NACAC and Common Application qualification criteria. Providence College has significantly expanded our merit scholarship program for students applying for admission to the Class of 2025 and we will increase the number of scholarship offers made by approximately 35%.”

Along with these adjustments, the Admission Office has worked with student Admission Ambassadors to engage with prospective students virtually in order to provide campus tours, answer questions the students may have, and talk about the PC experience. This switch to virtual programming has benefitted the prospective class by giving them an insight into life at PC, even if they are unable to visit the campus physically.

“The office has found new ways to engage prospective students including virtual admissions information sessions, virtual high school visits, a new online tour of campus, and online Zoom panels aimed at specific prospective student groups. I had the opportunity to speak on a panel for specifically students from New Jersey since that is my home state,” Admission Ambassador Kristen Moran ’22 said.

These changes and adjustments have helped prospective students and their families  deal with the stress of applying to college during a global pandemic. The accommodations provided by the Admission Office help ease the difficult decision of deciding where to attend college.“The family/student reaction was overwhelmingly positive. Many students started their senior year late in September/October and many did not have guidance counselor support until later in October. I think families truly appreciated having two more weeks to submit their applications. We also heard from many high school counselors who were very supportive/appreciative of our decision to extend the deadline,” Fonts said.

Once the application period ends, the Admission Office plans to continue accommodating these newly accepted students, yet it is unknown whether these plans will be virtual or physically on campus. However, the office hopes to provide new ways for the class of 2025 to see and experience PC.Fonts said, “Our favorite word in the Admission Office is ‘pivot,’ and we have continuously worked to provide the best access to PC that we could possibly provide students and families. Our presence virtually has been very strong, but we will need to continue to manage our application review process and will need to provide new creative ways for admitted students to see PC in the spring to assist them with their decision-making process.” 

Despite the uncertainty that prospective students are facing as they enter the college admissions process this fall, they can rest assured that PC will continue to adapt to the times and provide them with a safe and productive alternative to see all that Friartown has to offer.