Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Wilkes University’s Admissions has cut the enrollment deposit in half and extended the deadline for committed students to send in their payments.
Originally for fall enrollment, the deposit for students was $300, and they were required to be submitted by May 1. However, with the arrival of the coronavirus across the United States, it has led to unprecedented changes and challenges for students and their families. Recognizing these uncertainties, Wilkes Admissions cut the deposit to $150 and made the deadline June 1 for all future first-year, graduate, international and transfer students. Deposits can either be sent in through the mail or paid online.
If students have already forwarded the initial amount, they won’t be slighted, as it will be applied to their tuition bill for the fall semester. This is in an attempt to make Wilkes’ education more accessible during this situation and financially difficult time.
“We were looking for ways to be helpful for our future students, as we understand that they need to make their commitment to Wilkes at a time that is comfortable for them,” said Kishan Zuber, vice president of enrollment management and marketing.
She added the university is looking for any ways it can be more accommodating to students and their families, as many are struggling both mentally and financially.
Zuber said that she and others, including faculty and staff, have been reaching out to prospective students, too. That effort has been well received.
“Sometimes, students get tired of an admissions counselor, and I have found that people have found more time to pick up the phone call and call students,” Zuber said.
With high schools closing, it has also become harder to get all the proper documentation needed to admit students. Similarly, SATs have been canceled, which has been limiting students from sending in their full applications, as there are no chances to retake them. Admissions has recognized these changes as well because the standardized test score requirement for applicants intending to enroll in the fall semester has been now waived.
If students are unable to submit their official transcript, the Wilkes Admissions Office will review unofficial transcripts to encourage student enrollment.
Zuber explained that this year’s enrollment has been strong and quite similar to last year’s. Still, after the announcement of high schools moving online, she says she didn’t see much activity after the first week and a half. It has picked up since then.
Additionally, the extension of the deadline and reduction of the deposit has allowed counselors to become better engaged with potential students. Counselors have been spending the last few weeks adjusting their processes to become more flexible and virtual. They have been doing their best to maintain genuine and authentic communication with their prospective students.
According to Executive Director of Undergraduate Admissions Christopher Mayerski, it has affected how they have been reaching out to students. Counselors have daily call lists and have been contacting them by texting, calling, emailing and now, chatting virtually.
“We have created a new web page at www.wilkes.edu/experience, and we are offering virtual one-on-one meetings with admissions and financial aid counselors,” Mayerski said.
He said counselors like Assistant Director Ian Schreffler, have focused their communications on being sympathetic to these students, as they have lost the end of their senior year along with major activities, including graduation. At the same time, they understand how important a decision enrolling into college is for students, and they want to provide as much aid to them and their families as they can.