University of Houston uses virtual tours to keep enrollment while social distancing

University leaders across the country are working to figure out whether or not to reopen campus for the upcoming fall semester. 

In 2020, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, taking a college admissions tour to check out your future dorm, lecture halls, and sports stadiums, means hopping on your computer for a Zoom session.      

"I am part of the group that gives campus tours to prospective students, whether they be incoming freshmen or transfers," said Brian Tan, University of Houston junior. 

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Tan is a UH student ambassador that now Zooms with interested students and their families, hoping to help them make the best decision possible, despite the circumstances.

"Usually what I found is that students ask a lot more questions while on a virtual tour for some reason," Tan said. 
But without physically traveling to see the campus and the looming uncertainty of the economy, admissions directors hope it won’t have too much of an impact on enrollment numbers.
"I think, unfortunately, it's a little too early to tell. I think the general caution around the country is that enrollment will go down," said Dr. Madwell Maxwell, the Executive Director of Admissions at UH.  


According to Dr. Maxwell, enrollment plays a significant part in boosting the university’s overall graduation numbers and ranking.

Not to mention, how crucial UH is to the local Houston economy. Maxwell adds that UH has already lost out on large amounts of revenue from the cancellations of the NCAA and XFL games.

"Without the students, there's limited need for the institution, the students are at the core of it. I will tell you the revenue that comes for athletic programs is equally significant to an institution's budget and what an institution is able to do when we look at times of recession. It hurts fundraising philanthropy, there are fewer people that are donating to institutions and the gifts may not be as large right that equally has an impact," Maxwell said.