Incoming freshmen and new transfer students officially move into the University of Mount Olive campus Saturday and Monday.
Traditional classes begin Tuesday.
“Even with COVID-19, we are expecting a strong freshman class,” said Tim Woodard, vice president for enrollment, marketing and communications at UMO.
Woodard said there was a waiting list for freshman housing. He added that due to the coronavirus and travel restrictions, the number of international students on campus would decrease this semester.
According to Woodard, nearly 80 percent of the incoming students are from North Carolina and just over 20 percent are out of state.
The coronavirus has provided a challenging and unique year for colleges and universities across the cross. Despite the adversity, positive lessons have been learned.
“One good thing we learned from COVID is new ways to effectively communicate with our incoming students,” Woodard said.
UMO admissions representatives and academic deans scheduled more than 300 individual Zoom sessions with incoming freshmen and college transfers. They spent between 15 and 30 minutes with each student, setting up class schedules and talking about the next steps once they arrive on campus.
Woodard said the university will likely continue to communicate with students through Zoom after the coronavirus pandemic ends.
The school’s admissions and marketing and communications teams put together video presentations.
“Because of COVID, potential students were unable to schedule in-person campus tours,” Woodard said. “We have utilized Zoom, text, emails, videos and phone calls to stay in touch with our incoming students and to let them know we are excited for them to become a part of our Trojan family.”
Lisa Nuesell, associate VP for adult and graduate enrollment at UMO, said numbers remain steady among adult and graduate program students.
“We have watched many schools around us struggle, with new enrollment particularly with adults who are balancing much more than before,” Nuesell said. “However, our adult and graduate enrollment remains constant, and this speaks to the tremendous support we continue to see for UMO and our programs.”
Nuesell stressed UMO’s long history of serving adult populations and its strategic position of being ahead of the curve on virtual learning as two key components for its AGP enrollment success.
“With all that is going on the world today, our students are telling us that they are revaluating priorities, and we feel blessed that they continue to see UMO as their path to success,” she said. “It is reassuring to see this type of student support, and we remain committed to helping students achieve their goals.”
Nuesell also noted that the Trojan Alliance Partnership (TAP) program is gaining momentum among organizations in North Carolina and beyond.
She said under the leadership of Dr. Paul Rutter, there are currently 132 active partnerships with organizations allowing employees of those organizations to receive a tuition scholarship. Businesses who would like to partner with UMO can visit www.umo.edu/tap.
“This is a wonderful community and enrollment driven initiative, especially for organizations who have had to eliminate educational reimbursement to save costs,” Nuesell said. “We realize that these are unique and challenging times for everyone, and we want to ensure that our alliance partners’ employees have the best possible advantage for furthering their education and increasing their profitability potential.”