Student recruiting is one way Auburn shows prospective students the beauty and history of the University’s campus. Now, with COVID-19 bringing new on-campus regulations, campus tours have been completely remodeled in order to keep recruiters and guests safe.
“Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, all student recruiters and guests are required to wear masks on tours,” said Hadley Hutchinson, president of student recruiters. “Student recruiters are also required to send their ‘green screens’ from the daily Healthcheck screener to our advisor before they go into the office to give a tour.”
In addition to the face mask policy, only a limited number of families can go with a recruiter on a tour at a time. According to Hutchinson, they hope to only have one family per student recruiter.
“In past semesters, each student recruiter would have several families on their tour,” Hutchinson said. “Now, the number of potential students and families allowed to sign up for a tour [has] decreased quite a bit. We are aiming to have just one family per student recruiter.”
New procedures for campus tours include social distancing between the recruiter and the family, face masks worn at all times and a one-family limit. According to Hutchinson, however, these new touring regulations have their advantages. Having one family per student recruiter has allowed for each tour to be more personalized and help the recruiter understand what each individual family has an interest in seeing.
“In past semesters, I would walk the same route on my tours,” Hutchinson said. “Because my tours are so small now, I try to get a feel for what the potential student and family wants to see. This flexibility would not exist if the tours were still large.”
Caitlyn Wanalista, sophomore in chemistry and a first-year student recruiter, also feels like she can connect more personally with each family. Because the tours are so small, she is less nervous to do them, she said.
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“Usually we would have three to four families on a tour, but now it’s only one, maybe two families if we don’t have enough people,” Wanalista said. “It’s been really fun. I can personalize each tour to the family instead of trying to gear it towards a bunch of different majors. I can just focus on whatever the students are interested in.”
According to Hutchinson, the biggest challenge that the organizations had had to face is the training of the new student recruiters. Normally, new recruiters would be able to shadow the old recruiters to get a better sense of how the tours are conducted, but because of the pandemic, new recruiters had to come back to campus ready to learn and get started.
“Because everything moved online, training the new student recruiters became more difficult,” Hutchinson said. “Tours started back up on Sept. 8, and by that time our new recruiters were ready to go. They are doing an incredible job, even though their training looked a lot different than in the past. I am so proud of this group, returners and new recruiters alike.”
In addition to tours, student recruiters will host virtual lunches and panels for potential students. These potential students are able to send in their questions to be answered by the recruiters through a panel on Zoom. There is also a virtual tour available online because of the limited number of on-campus tours this semester.
“I am so grateful to be a part of this organization,” Hutchinson said. “It is truly an honor and one of my greatest joys getting to lead as president. Apart from our organization’s main goals, my biggest goal is to make sure each student recruiter feels cared for, encouraged and loved by me, especially during these difficult times.”
The Office of Undergraduate Admissions is not currently accepting student recruiters for campus tours, but once reopened, interested students can find the application online at auburn.edu/recruiters.
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