Remote technology helps connect admitted students to the Rider community amidst pandemic

Courtesy of Rider University 
Admissions staff discuss the lengths they go to help prospective students’ decision to go to Rider.

By Tatyanna Carman

The Office of Admissions is creating ways for admitted students to connect to staff and faculty to accommodate them during the pandemic. 

Admissions anticipates an enrolling freshman class of 826 students. 

Rider has also extended the deadline for deposits to June 1, which was a decision made by many other colleges as well “to give students more time to make the best decision for their college career,” according to a statement from Director of Undergraduate and Transfer Admission Susan Makowski, Dean of Enrollment Susan Christian, Vice President of Enrollment Management Drew Aromando and Associate Vice President for University Marketing and Communications Kristine Brown. 

Kristine Brown, Associate Vice President for University Marketing and Communications

In the statement, the administrators said that the Office of Admissions has hosted a virtual admitted students day, a virtual Musical Theater Bronc for a Day program with two informational sessions and a Virtual Admitted Student Breakfast Receptions for students in Baccalaureate Honors Program (BHP), Business Honors Program, Milestone Scholars Program and transfer students, to name a few. 

Admitted students are also able to interact with people in various specialty programs through GroupMe, and there is a request form on the Rider website that lets admitted students connect with members of the campus community through Zoom, phone or email, according to the statement.  

“The difference being we need to use the technology we have available to us and connect with students where they are in the process of their college decision,” the administrators said. “We are conducting most of our sessions through Zoom, using all the proper security precautions, breakout rooms, waiting rooms, and so forth.” 

There are also virtual events that are being planned such as academic question and answer sessions, admitted student information sessions, welcome parties and an open house which will operate as a week of events, according to the statement. 

Tour guides are also doing their part in helping prospective students. Junior elementary education major and tour guide Jenna Dean said that the admissions staff have also been posting on the class of 2024 Facebook page with Facebook live videos, videos of campus and updates on anything incoming students could need. 

Jenna Dean, junior elementary education major and tour guide 

“My duties have changed immensely, but my role has mainly stayed the same — tell people why Rider is the school for them…,” Dean said. “It is definitely an adjustment for everyone, but I think we are working hard to make the outcome the same.” 

She also said this period is difficult because it makes the college decision “much harder for students, as they may end up committing somewhere they’ve never been before.” 

Sophomore computer science major, tour guide and Bronc for a Day coordinator Elizabeth O’Hara shared the same sentiment and compared the college decision process now to when she was a senior in high school. 

Elizabeth O’Hara, sophomore computer science major, tour guide and Bronc for a Day coordinator 

“Interactions with faculty, current students and even other admitted students was the make or break for me, and the atmosphere told me whether or not it was a great fit,” she said. “With all the uncertainty that comes with not being able to finish senior year of high school, I think it is important for admitted students to remember that there are so many ways they can make an informed college choice.” 

O’Hara stressed the importance of the Bronc for a Day pairing and said that with the online format, schedules become a little more flexible and students can continue to talk to the right people. She also said that Facebook lives and the “Why Rider?” videos, where tour guides and alumni make videos on why they chose to attend the school, allow student workers to share their stories, which she said is the most important aspect of any campus tour. O’Hara also suggested keeping these online resources after everything returns to “business as usual.”

“These options are an equalizer for students who cannot easily access campus,” she said. “Although we love meeting students in person, providing a wide range of digital content can help us move one step closer to Rider’s commitment to inclusive excellence and ensure that no student is at a disadvantage.”

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