SDSU Ambassadors take on-campus tours to the virtual world during COVID-19

SDSU+Ambassadors+have+started+conducting+tours+via+a+virtual+platform+due+to+most+classes+and+students+being+online.

Emily Burgess

SDSU Ambassadors have started conducting tours via a virtual platform due to most classes and students being online.

by Trinity Bland, Opinion Editor

For high school students or college-bound individuals in the process of evaluating colleges, admissions professionals strongly recommend scheduling campus visits.

Although doing so in-person isn’t an option right now, virtual campus tours offer a glimpse into student life and campus facilities.

There is no question the college search for current high school students and potential transfer students is going to be a little bit different. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a shift in the life of all students but likewise, it has altered the college search. Taking advantage of a virtual campus tour can be a great way to begin, in lieu of visiting in-person. 

SDSU Ambassadors, who are housed out of San Diego State’s Office of New Student and Parent Programs, serve as the official tour guides, orientation leaders and official representatives of the university. Between wearing a red polo paired with a name tag and walking backward, SDSU Ambassadors have always been known to admirably present SDSU to prospective families.

However, the way SDSU Ambassadors give campus tours will inevitably look different in the era of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The organization has plans to take advantage of virtual platforms in order to still give tours — this time with some social-distancing flair. 

They will utilize the interactive platform, YouVisit, giving a 25-minute presentation and narrating information on a number of on-campus spots that are a part of the regular tour route such as Hepner Hall, Malcolm A. Love Library, Viejas Arena and the Aztec Recreation Center. 

Paulina Navarro, SDSU Ambassadors’ service and philanthropy chair, was open to the idea of giving virtual tours. 

“At first, I wondered how we were going to give tours virtually,” Navarro said.“In the spring, we stopped giving them and I think touring colleges is important for incoming students.” 

Navarro encourages prospective students and families to take a virtual tour if they are considering attending SDSU. 

“They need to get a feel for the campus and surrounding areas as well so I am really glad that we are now giving virtual tours,” she said. 

SDSU Ambassadors will also provide additional information about resource centers on campus, famous alumni and set aside time to answer questions their tour participants may have regarding campus life and student experience. 

I hope students and their families are joining these tours together and are open to asking questions in allotted Q&A time,” Navarro said. 

After SDSU Ambassadors finish giving families a virtual campus tour, a representative from SDSU’s Housing department joins in to talk about student housing options on campus and the live-on requirements for freshmen and sophomore students. Following that, families have the opportunity to see an admissions counselor and learn more about the application process and admissions.

In total, the tour is around an hour in length. 

Essentially, SDSU Ambassadors and The Office of New Student and Parent Programs are completely committed to ensuring prospective students and families are still getting a high-quality and engaging tour experience. 

Katrina Hizon, SDSU Ambassadors’ president, finds adapting to a virtual tour format is extremely helpful for prospective families and students who are not able to visit and experience campus life. 

“While we all wish we were able to walk past Hepner Hall every day and show off our lovely campus, adapting to a virtual tour format still allows us to connect with prospective students and families,” Hizon said. “It’s still so great to be able to represent SDSU during this time.”

Beyond attending a virtual campus tour and visiting SDSU’s main website and social media platforms, there are often pages dedicated to campus activities or student-run organizations for prospective students to follow. There, students will not only see pictures from around campus, but it may also help to provide a feel for the campus culture when an in-person visit is not possible.

Disclosure: Trinity Bland is an SDSU Ambassador and Opinion Editor at The Daily Aztec.

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