by Mateo Requejo-Tejada
Graphic by Jane Wilson
Every year a select number of colleges and universities attend the Las Lomas campus to provide information about their schools in order to encourage students to apply at their own campuses . However, this year has been like no other, and as a result colleges have been forced to exchange their visits to the Las Lomas campus for online Zoom webinars. Since August 31st students have had the opportunity to attend these online meetings, all of which are held on mondays for a total amount of thirty minutes. With the switch to online meets and a time constraint of thirty minutes, many students are left wondering: how beneficial are these Zoom meetings? To find out the answer, Las Lomas’s upperclassmen Stella Canez, Emilija Rankovic, Ani Jamgotchian, and Summer Delehanty were interviewed and given the opportunity to express their personal experiences with the webinars.
Canez described her experience with the University College Dublin admissions officers as an informative one, as the officers were “very helpful and engaging.” She also shared a positive experience with the Admissions officer from NYU. Rankovic explained how helpful the counselor was, saying “she did a great job answering people’s questions,” and also described how the counselor gave an engaging presentation in which she was speaking with them rather than to them. Creating an engaging presentation was something that Jamgotchian explained was crucial in maintaining her attention, as well as the attention of others. This helped spark interest in the information being given out by various counselors. Jamgotchian said, “Even though they might not always get a response from students – because I know one of [the meetings] was at eight in the morning – it is really their energy that makes the meeting inclusive.” Jamgotchian goes on to explain that in some presentations individuals were just reading off of slides, which brought about a sense of boredom and lack of effort.
Challenges with Online Webinars
Although students on average found these informational sessions to be very helpful, some struggled with certain aspects of the sessions, most of which could be easily changed. One of these struggles was the meeting’s time limit of thirty minutes. Canez said, “Something that I didn’t like is that the meetings were short and they didn’t go much in depth.” With only thirty minutes to present a school and answer questions Cannez felt that the meeting she attended needed some more clarity. Emilija Rankovic felt that she would have greatly benefited from further promotion for the Zoom meetings saying, “I think the meetings should have been advertised better, preferably during cohorts, since I would not have joined if I had not been informed about it.” Rankovic says this to point out that she only attended the Zoom meeting for NYU because a friend had told her about the planned meeting. Another issue a Las Lomas Senior faced after the sessions was that her stress hadn’t really decreased since attending the college visits. “Each school is so vastly different, at least for me, about where and when they want materials, which made the whole application process seem daunting.” explained Summer Delehanty, “However, they made me more confident that the school was a solid choice.”
Despite the time constraint, all these students agreed that Admissions Counselors did their best in providing students the opportunity to ask questions as well as answering them. “The admissions counselors were very helpful! There were lots of opportunities for questions and they had comprehensive presentations,” said Delehanty. Sharing her position, Ani Jamgtchian said, “You can ask questions in the chat, and the admissions counselor who’s in charge will try to answer all questions within the meeting.” She went on to explain how this was incredibly helpful because students were able to “get a quick response on any questions that you might be thinking of or come up with on the spot.”
Jamagotchian also went on to speak about the great experience she had with the Occidental College webinar. She gave examples of how the admissions counselors for this college were able to go in-depth about their college and provide definitive examples of what classes, college life, and campus values look like. Jamagotchian explains that in order to help students understand what campus life in terms of what classes and campus life might feel like, presenters brilliantly decided to have “all of the individuals who were initiating the presentations…either alumni of said school or they were current employees of the school.” According to Jamgotchian, Occidental did something very unique but incredibly beneficial for those trying to better understand the school. They had multiple members of the campus community, specifically an admissions officer who is an alumni along with two student representatives, lead the meetings. “The main host of the meeting was an alumni but she had two student representatives… and they went back and forth between a combination of her professional point of view and her past experiences in contrast to the students’ current experiences.” Juxtaposing the alumni’s experiences with the current students’ own, was described by Jamgotchian as “incredibly helpful” because it gave firsthand experiences from current students attending Occidental – painting a clear picture of what learning at Occidental is like. Although these Las Lomas students took some issue with the college webinars, they agreed that students stand to benefit far more from attending these Zoom meetings than disregarding them altogether, so one might want to consider taking the time to give one of these webinars a chance.