Virtual Visits Help Maintain Optimism in Admission

Light Fine Arts Virtual Visits
A new virtual tour at kzoo.edu/tour offers 360-degree photos like the one represented here. The robust experience will allow prospective students to view the Kalamazoo College campus from a distance through virtual visits.

Spirits remain high with Kalamazoo College Admission representatives as they recruit first-year students for fall 2021.

“We had a strong class in 2020 and we’re hopeful we can have that again.” Admission Event Coordinator Sarah Matyczyn said. “We’re happy with where we stand considering the effects of the pandemic.”

This optimism is taking shape as a new normal arises in the admission process. In the wake of the pandemic, Admission is using more virtual ways to reach next year’s first-year students.

“If there’s a silver lining to COVID-19, it’s that we on multiple occasions have talked about creating virtual options for international students and west coast students because of the time difference,” Matyczyn said. “We value in-person connections, but this really pushed us, and moving forward, this will help us.”

Prospective student opportunities for virtual visits include:

  • A new virtual tour. Provided through Virtually Anywhere, a series of 360-degree photos and tour stops give prospective students a robust experience and a feeling of being on campus regardless of where they are. Alumni will also appreciate the opportunity to revisit the campus this way anytime they want.
  • Student-led virtual tours. A current student tour guide walks prospective students and their families around campus, talks about each location and shares their K experience
  • The Weekly Buzz, a series that allows prospective students to get virtual news and information on the application and admission process through conversations with students and counselors. Previous topics now available through recordings include the liberal arts, the family’s role in the application process, and navigating college as a first-generation student.
  • A virtual open house. This is an ideal experience for prospective students looking to find their perfect college fit. They can meet with admission staff along with other members of the K community such as faculty to get to know the K-Plan and the college experience. The next one is scheduled for November 10.
  • High school virtual group visits. These events are meant for academically-prepared high school students. They include a student-led virtual campus tour and an information session.
  • Personalized video chats with admission counselors or meetings with students by phone, texting, video chat or email.

That’s not to say that in-person visits have gone away. In fact, they restarted September 23 with a more personalized experience. One socially-distanced tour group consists of just one prospective student and family per tour guide.

“The tours go into the Hicks Student Center, Hoben Hall so they can see a residence hall room, the library and the Fitness and Wellness Center,” Matyczyn said. “The rest of the trip is outside, but we will take them into Dow Science Center if they’re interested in science and want to see a lab. The feedback we’ve received is that the families are extremely grateful for the in-person visits. They’re also appreciative of the safety measures we’ve taken.”

Regardless, there are no changes in the admission process itself. K maintains its traditional test-optional status so students don’t have to submit an ACT or SAT score, and students will fill out the Common App along with an essay. In the meantime, how they choose to get to know K is up to them and help is always available.

“You can pick whatever experience is best for you,” Matyczyn said. “The counselors say the same thing. We might address high school juniors a little differently than seniors, but a counselor is always available to talk. If you want some advice or even if you want to talk to a current K student, we’ll make those connections for you.”

Alumni Can Help Admission

Represent your alma mater to prospective students through both virtual and in-person activities. Learn more at the Alumni Engagement website.

K to Resume On-Campus Tours

On-Campus Tours Stetson Chapel
The Admission team is taking measures to keep valued guests safe during their visits to campus. On-campus tours will resume Wednesday, July 15.

Starting on Wednesday, July 15, the Kalamazoo College Office of Admission will resume on-campus walking tours for prospective students and families. The Admission team is taking measures to keep valued guests safe during their visits to campus. Information sessions and counselor meetings will be available using virtual tools, and complete virtual visit experiences will continue to be offered.

In order to accommodate as many requests as possible, on-campus tours will be limited to 45 minutes, and visitors will be reminded of COVID-19 safety precautions. Per CDC guidelines and College social distancing efforts, precautions include:

  • PPE (face coverings, face masks) must be worn by staff and visitors at all times both inside and outside of campus buildings.
  • All visitors should maintain social distancing (6 feet of minimum distance from others not in visiting party). No close contact will be necessary during campus visits.
  • Visiting parties will be limited to four visitors or fewer, including the prospective student; attendees who do not wish to take the tour may wait in their vehicle.
  • Access to buildings, including the Office of Admission Welcome Center, will be limited. Restrooms will be available as needed, with one person able to enter the Welcome Center at a time.

Visitors may notice that the Kalamazoo College campus is quiet during the summer months; K does not offer summer coursework, so the lack of students at this time of year is perfectly normal. It’s a great opportunity to take in the sights without distractions!

Guests may further explore visit options and sign up at the visiting Kalamazoo College page.

Visitors are advised to utilize the College’s virtual tour options if:

  • They or any members of their visiting party have been in contact with someone who has tested positively for COVID-19.
  • They have traveled internationally two weeks before their visit.
  • They are experiencing any COVID-19 related symptoms.

For more information regarding visits, please contact the Kalamazoo College Office of Admission at 269.337.7166, toll-free 1.800.253.3602, admission@kzoo.edu.

Kalamazoo College is committed to compliance with the guidelines and restrictions set forth by the State of Michigan in the MI Safe Start Plan. To learn more about our efforts, please visit our COVID-19 Information and Resources page.

K Names New Vice President for Admission and Financial Aid

New Vice President MJ Huebner
Kalamazoo College is excited to welcome Mj Huebner as its new vice president for admission and financial aid. Huebner is coming to K from the University of Texas Permian Basin, where she has been the interim vice president of enrollment management.

Kalamazoo College President Jorge G. Gonzalez announced today that Mj Huebner will join the liberal arts institution as the new vice president for admission and financial aid. Huebner, interim vice president of enrollment management at the University of Texas Permian Basin, will begin her new role on Sept. 8, 2020.

Huebner comes to K with nearly 30 years of higher education experience. In addition to leadership positions in admission and enrollment management at institutions such as Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and Rocky Mountain College in Billings, Montana, Huebner has worked as a trusted colleague with nearly 40 colleges and universities across the U.S. as an enrollment management consultant. In these various roles, Huebner has demonstrated her ability to evaluate critical data and trends, analyze and implement enhanced approaches for recruitment and financial aid, fine-tune marketing and communication strategies, and drive key enrollment metrics.

“We are excited that Mj brings a wealth of experience from a wide variety of colleges and universities, both as a member of the leadership team and as an outside consultant,” said Gonzalez. “Her strong focus on data analysis, measurement and continuous improvement, combined with her upbeat personality and positive management style, make her a great fit for K.”

As an alumna of Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa, Huebner also understands personally the value of a liberal arts education.

“I am honored to have the opportunity to support K’s mission to foster enlightened leadership in an increasingly uncertain and complex world,” said Huebner. “Building on K’s strong, time-tested tradition of excellence, our challenge for the future will be to stay relevant, top-of-mind and beloved. Greeting that challenge with enthusiastic authenticity, optimism and diplomacy will be a privilege.”

Huebner was selected after a nationwide search conducted by an on-campus committee with the assistance of Napier Executive Search, an executive search firm specializing in higher education and enrollment management. Comprised of faculty and staff, the committee was chaired by Vice President for Student Development and Dean of Students Sarah Westfall.

Campus Visit Opportunities Can Help You Decide on K

Choosing where you will spend the next four years of your life is a big decision, and a college campus visit is a great tool to help you decide. Talking to current students, eating in the cafeteria and attending a class can give you a sense of whether the college you’re exploring will be a good academic and social fit.

Prospective Students on a Campus Visit
Whether you’re just starting your search or you’re pretty sure Kalamazoo College will be your academic home, campus visit options such as individual visits, open houses and Visit the Zoo are beneficial.

“Our programs are designed to give prospective students a real feel for life as a student at Kalamazoo College,” says Admission Event Coordinator Sarah Matyczyn. “We want students to leave campus knowing whether or not K is the right fit for them.”

Whether you’re just starting your search or you’re pretty sure Kalamazoo College will be your academic home, the following campus visit options are available:

  • Individual visits are designed to fit a prospective student’s needs and schedule. A weekday campus visit provides the broadest number of activities and the best opportunities to learn about K. A class visit is an option along with an info session and campus tour. Saturday visits are available, but activities are limited because classes won’t be in session. When you arrive on campus, you will even find a designated parking spot waiting for you. No parallel parking required.
  • Open houses are designed with a broader audience in mind. There are student-led panel discussions, guided campus tours and other prospective students to talk with. Parents are encouraged to join their student to learn more about K. Open houses are held twice in the fall and twice in the spring. They are perfect for high school juniors or seniors who want more information on K.
  • The most in-depth campus visit option is the Visit the Zoo program, designed for admitted students and their families. This is a two-day event to help students make a final decision before the deposit deadline. Students may spend the night, talk with alumni and meet faculty members. Parents can sit in on a parent panel and ask questions about K. This is a fun and informative event for the whole family that covers topics such as financial aid. There are typically four Visit the Zoos in the winter and spring terms.

By choosing the campus visit option that fits your needs, you can leave confident about moving forward in the application process, whether you’re a junior choosing to apply or a senior making your deposit. Plan your campus visit today. You can sign up online or call the visit team to get started.

K Tour Guides Offer 4 Tips for College Visits

Several Kalamazoo College students with local ties are helping prospective students and their families learn about the school, the campus and the city this summer through the Admission Center. Madelyn Betts ’19, Leah Todd ’20 and Faruq Schieber ’20—all of Kalamazoo—are among the campus tour guides, and they say summer is an excellent time to visit.

Leah Todd among tour guides at Hicks Center
Leah Todd ’20 is one of several tour guides serving Kalamazoo College this summer.

“Summer gives you an opportunity to see things when they’re at their best,” on campus and in the City of Kalamazoo, said Schieber, an international area studies major. “Everything is in bloom and it’s quiet without the hustle and bustle on campus.”

As members of the Holistic Inclusive Visitor Experience (HIVE) team, these three also fulfill roles as communicators and hosts to prospective students and their families. Each is an excellent source of information on the K-Plan, Kalamazoo College’s distinctive approach to academics in the liberal arts and sciences, and what you can see and do when you visit. Here are four of their tips for college visits.

Have Questions for Your Tour Guides

Betts, who studies German and business with a concentration in film and media studies, advises prospective students and families to develop a list of important questions to ask when they’re on campus. She said she commonly answers questions ranging from whether first-year students can have cars on campus to inquiries about academic support and leadership opportunities.

“Everyone is here to help you get everything you want out of your visit,” Betts said, adding it’s also a good idea to ask about activities on campus.

Madelyn Betts Works as one of several Tour Guides
Madelyn Betts ’19 is a member of the Holistic Inclusive Visitor Experience (HIVE) team. Her duties include serving as one of several tour guides on campus this summer.

“There’s so much going on each term you don’t hear about ahead of time, you’ll think, ‘If I only had more time,’ ” said Betts, who is the president of K’s student Swing Dance Club and Film Club, and a member of Cirque du K, a student circus troupe.

The practice of asking questions will also benefit students when they’re attending K. Todd, for example, said when she needed advice about a class, several people responded to a single email, including volleyball Head Coach Jeanne Hess, even though Todd no longer plays volleyball.

“A teacher, a dean, my study abroad adviser and my academic adviser all responded about this one class, even Coach (Hess),” Todd said. “She’s always reaching out, trying to make sure there’s a connection. We have nice people here. I enjoy meeting people from all over the world.”

Reach Out

Schieber said it can be intimidating for high school students to plan campus visits, especially if they’re uncertain about what college they want to attend. The solution for easing that intimidation is to connect with Admission in advance.

“Make a phone call to us before you come and point out your interests to us,” he said. “You can even request an interview with an admission counselor. That call can help us as guides and counselors get more of an idea of what you would like access to so we can show you a good fit.”

Faruq Schieber among Tour Guides
Faruq Schieber ’20 is among the Kalamazoo College tour guides who suggests visiting the College and the city over the summer.

As a prospective student a few years ago, Schieber said that fit involved study abroad opportunities and the easy access to professors he wouldn’t have gotten at a larger school.

“This is an environment where professors care about your success—you matter,” said Schieber, who will study abroad in Ecuador this fall.

Prepare for the Weather

Regardless of the season in which you visit, it’s a good idea to prepare for the weather. Check the forecast for Kalamazoo in advance and dress appropriately for being outside, Todd said. Also, notify Admission if you’re running late for your tour. Calling ahead ensures tour guides are at your service when you arrive.

Picture it

Betts advises that students take pictures of the campuses they visit, especially when they visit schools far from home, to ensure they remember which is which.

“I heard a horror story once about a student who visited a campus and loved it,” Betts said. “She applied to what she thought was that college, was accepted and registered for classes, only to find when she arrived on campus she had applied to the wrong college.”

Our virtual tour, equipped with pictures and video, offers a preview of our campus, although we recommend seeing it yourself. Learn more about your options for visiting, plan your individual visit or contact Admissions today at 269-337-7166.

Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony Celebrates Admission Center

Kalamazoo College students, faculty, staff and administrators conducted a ribbon-cutting ceremony Nov. 13 to celebrate the opening of the College’s new Admission Center.

Four Administrators Conduct Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony
Assistant Vice President of Facilities Paul Manstrom (from left), Director of Admission Suzanne Lepley, Dean of Admission and Financial Aid Eric Staab and President Jorge G. Gonzalez conduct a ribbon-cutting ceremony Nov. 13 at Kalamazoo College’s new Admission Center.

The former bed and breakfast at 106 Thompson St., next to West Main and across the street from Dow Science Center, opened to visitors Oct. 23. Still, this gathering recognized how the building reflects the high quality of a K education and comfort for visitors.

“We’re thrilled and excited,” Dean of Admission and Financial Aid Eric Staab said when the building opened. “This building has some history to it while feeling less like a doctor’s office and more like a home. It will provide an excellent work environment and a welcoming place for students and families.”

The Admission Office often is the first point of contact for prospective students and their families as it shares the College’s distinctive programs and opportunities in the liberal arts and sciences, which are developed through the K-Plan. The K-Plan is a nationally recognized open curriculum offering rigorous academics, a hands-on education of experiential learning, international and intercultural experiences such as study abroad programs, and independent scholarship through senior individualized projects.

A parking lot adjacent to the building also will be available soon. Until then, parking is available across Thompson Street in the lot in front of the Dow Science Center. Please use the stalls facing Thompson Street marked with signs labeled “Admission Office – Permit Required.” If you have not received a parking permit before your visit, please request one when you arrive at the Admission Center.

Prospective students who can’t make it to campus can take a take a virtual tour of K or learn how to connect with Admission.

 

Admission Center Opens at K

Prospective students are beginning their Kalamazoo College campus tours and visits at an Admission Center in a newly remodeled facility that opened Oct. 23. The former bed and breakfast at 106 Thompson St., next to West Main and across the street from Dow Science Center, conveys the high quality of a K education and comfort to visitors, Dean of Admission and Financial Aid Eric Staab said.

Eric Staab unpacking at the new Kalamazoo College Admission Center
Kalamazoo College Dean of Admission and Financial Aid Eric Staab sets up his office in the Admission Center, which opened Oct. 23 at 106 Thompson St. near West Main Street and across from Dow Science Center on campus.

“We’re thrilled and excited,” he added. “This building has some history to it while feeling less like a doctor’s office and more like a home. It will provide an excellent work environment and a welcoming place for students and families.”

The Admission Office often is the first point of contact for prospective students and their families as it shares the College’s distinctive programs and opportunities in the liberal arts and sciences, which are developed through the K-Plan. The K-Plan is a nationally recognized open curriculum offering rigorous academics, a hands-on education of experiential learning, international and intercultural experiences such as study abroad programs, and independent scholarship through senior individualized projects.

A parking lot adjacent to the building also will be available soon. Until then, parking is available across Thompson Street in the lot in front of the Dow Science Center. Please use the stalls facing Thompson Street marked with signs labeled “Admission Office – Permit Required.” If you have not received a parking permit before your visit, please request one when you arrive at the Admission Center.

Prospective students who can’t make it to campus can take a virtual tour or learn how to connect with Admission.