Recruitment goes online with fun, informative webinars
Every spring, recruiters from The University of Winnipeg visit high schools across Manitoba to connect with accepted students and help them plan a smooth transition from high school to university. This year, those personal connections are taking place online.
UWinnipeg’s Getting Ready for First Year presentations are personalized for more than 50 participating high schools, connecting accepted students with everything they need to know; such as course registration, timetable planning, degree requirements, accessing university email, signing up for a student card, and more.
After the presentation, UWinnipeg recruiters will connect with student attendees to provide a checklist of next steps, and encourage them to get in touch any time.
“While this year will look different, a personalized experience is important,” said Student Recruitment Director, Ashley Dunlop. “Just like any other year, incoming students will be connected with an individual recruiter who will be available to answer all their questions, all summer long.”
Recruiters normally spend six weeks, full-time, visiting high schools. Student Recruitment and Communications Officer, David Garvey, has spent many hours adapting the materials that they would normally present in person, to ensure students have access to informative and entertaining content during the virtual presentation.
“In a normal year this is already a busy and exciting time for students, as they graduate from high school and look ahead to their first year at UWinnipeg – it’s a lot of information to take in,” said Garvey. “Visiting the schools is a great chance to meet with students personally, and make the process as smooth as possible.”
But instead of standing in front of the book stacks in a high school library, Garvey says recruiters will be in front of a white wall – possibly in their kitchen.
These presentations, which take place from mid-May to mid-June, are coordinated in partnership with high school guidance counsellors across Manitoba, who are thrilled that The University of Winnipeg is working hard to stay connected with accepted students at every high school in the province.
“I have had quite a few responses from counsellors saying they really appreciate what we are doing,” said Student Recruitment Coordinator, Alex Gachanja. “They have expressed gratitude and relief that we are still able to provide help to incoming first year students who are feeling anxious during these unusual times.”
Thanks to the team’s strong sense of community and resilience, as well as their familiarity with tools such as Zoom and Slack, Gachanja says they are just as productive as they were when they were working on campus.
“The nature of our job means that we are frequently utilizing technology such as laptops, email, and Skype when we are on the road,” he said. “It’s not unusual for recruiters to respond to student inquiries while waiting for a connecting flight, or emailing a guidance counsellor to confirm a school visit from a hotel room. We’ve been able to quickly shift to working from home by drawing on these experiences which have no doubt helped us stay nimble and responsive during these uncertain times.”
The recruitment team wants students to know that they understand the transition to university is going to be unique this year, and to reassure them that they are with them every step of the way.
“We understand this is a really challenging time. Grade 12 is different, grad is different, preparing for university is different, their last summer before university is different,” said Dunlop. “We want our incoming students to know that there is a lot of support available, and we are looking forward to helping them reach their goals.”
Jennifer Cox, Communications Officer, The University of Winnipeg
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