VUJ offers virtual admission appointments

By LEANN BURKE
lburke@dcherald.com

JASPER — Spring is a hectic season for college admissions offices.

Students are finalizing their plans for fall, and questions about financial aid, dual credit transfers and next steps pour in, keeping the admission counselors at Vincennes University Jasper busy. This year, COVID-19 added an extra challenge to the season, and VUJ — along with admissions offices across the country — responded by going virtual. Phone, text and Zoom have become essential tools of the trade.

“Whatever people prefer, we’re here and ready to assist them with their questions,” VUJ Dean Christian Blome said.

Most recently, the admissions team at VUJ added a daily, hourlong Zoom call where prospective students can pop in for a few minutes, ask their questions and pop out. Before, Blome said, students could email or call to make an appointment to meet via Zoom, but for some having to wait to get only a couple questions answered proved a hindrance.

The open virtual hour runs Monday through Friday from 2 to 3 p.m. ET, and details about how to log on can be found on VUJ’s Facebook page. So far, Blome said, about three perspective students pop in each day. The most common questions have been about how to transfer credits for dual credit classes taken in high school and about financial aid.

“Everyone is thinking about how to pay that bill,” Blome said.

Dual credit classes can be a part of students’ strategies to pay for college since they offer college credits for classes taken in high school. The thing to remember, though, is that the college credit doesn’t appear on the high school transcript. To get the college credit, Blome explained, students have to request another transcript from the college that partnered with their high school on the dual credit class. Then, they turn that transcript into VUJ to receive credit.

Prospective students have also been asking questions about majors and programs of study as they make a final decision about what college to attend.

Outside of the open hour, admissions counselors are working with students who have committed to VUJ to get them connected to advisors and registered for classes. Usually, VUJ registers incoming students during two to three in-person registration days over the summer. This year, those events aren’t happening due to COVID-19.

So far, Blome said, registration is going well, but the process is just beginning. Later this summer, VUJ will have a better idea of how large an incoming class to expect.

“It’s hard to see where enrollment is for the fall because that process has just started,” he said.

Still, he’s optimistic that when the fall comes, VUJ’s campus will be bustling. Programs for high school vocational students through the Patoka Valley Career and Technical Education Cooperative, such as construction trades and the Automation and Robotics Academy are heading into their second year, so two cohorts of students — broken into year one and year two — will be on campus for those programs. The aviation program will also launch, and the HOSA program will return to campus as well.

“There will be a lot of growth there,” Blome said of the high school programs.

The number of students accepted for college-level study also indicates a healthy incoming class, Blome said, but that won’t be confirmed until closer to the start of the fall semester.




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