Virtual visits

Touring campus through a screen

Tori McArthur, Staff Reporter

a screenshot of a virtual tour of spu
Prospective students and parents are taken through a virtual tour of campus buildings, guided by SPU Ambassadors and an interactive map. (Marissa Lordahl)

Throughout the academic year, Seattle Pacific University admissions ambassadors walk students around campus, pointing out buildings, residence halls and other important locations on campus. Often, this includes an in-depth look at dorm rooms and scoping out the dining hall.

Most high school counselors suggest that students tour universities before committing, as does the College Board.

“A college catalog, brochure or website can only show you so much. To really get a feel for the college, you need to walk around the quad, sit in on a class and visit the dorms,” the College Board website states.

For students from the class of 2020 who are considering SPU, the university is offering an alternative way for them to see the campus since tours and events have been canceled on account of COVID-19.

A couple weeks before the official closure of SPU, Undergraduate Admissions Director Ineliz Soto-Fuller knew that figuring out another way for students to see the campus was important.

“We knew students really wanted to see campus. We knew students wanted interaction with professors and current students,” Soto-Fuller said.

With the cancellation of spring Admitted Student Previews, which draw around 500 prospective students to campus, the admissions office had to adapt to give students a similar experience.

“Check out the virtual experiences below to connect with the SPU community, tour campus and get your college questions answered – no matter where you are,” the SPU Virtual Visits website states.

a screenshot of a virtual tour of Seattle Pacific University
For prospective students who cannot travel to campus for tours, Admissions has created a virtual tour. (Marissa Lordahl)

This interim website is prospective-student-central, where real-life visits can be replaced with webinars, interactive campus tours, one-on-one appointments and info sessions before committing to SPU. The website covers hot-topics of student life, housing, registration, orientation and popular majors.

In addition to this website, SPU is offering self-guided tours where students and their families can guide themselves around the Queen Anne campus. Small information booths are placed in front of buildings on campus, explaining what classes they host or faculty offices.

“Discover the places where Seattle Pacific students encounter rigorous academics, hang out with friends and pursue their callings on our beautiful campus just minutes from Seattle’s downtown core,” a pamphlet for the self-guided tours states.

With a map and a sequence of places to tour, this pamphlet replaces student tour-guides but lacks the in-person charisma of current students.

A screenshot of a virtual tour of SPU
The virtual tour includes information about SPU’s facilities, services, and programs, in order to give prospective students an experience of life on campus while they are unable to visit. (Marissa Lordahl)

Alongside the virtual visit and self-guided tours, SPU is still offering students a visit scholarship that has different qualifications in unprecedented times.

Prospective students are required to attend two virtual visit events before June 1 to qualify for the one-time visit scholarship. For out-of-state students, if they meet eligibility they will be awarded $1,000, and in-state students can receive $500.

Alongside self-guided tours, admissions ambassadors have paired with University Communications to do Instagram Live videos almost every day of the week for the last two months.

Current students can join into these livestreams at @seattle_pacific to see dorm rooms, ask questions and experience campus from a student’s perspective.

Although the May 1 deadline of commitment to SPU has passed, the Office of Undergraduate Admissions has extended their deadline to June 1, giving prospective students more time to become a future falcon.