St. Norbert College resumes campus tours for prospective students

Local News

DE PERE, Wis. (WFRV) – For many high school seniors, summer is critical in planning the future of their education. And they’re touring colleges in order to make the best decision. But it’s been a challenge during the coronavirus pandemic. As Kris Schuller explains — parents and students have many questions about COVID-19.

On the campus of St. Norbert College prospective students are back getting personalized tours.
And one question all families are asking – has to do about safety in the age of COVID-19.

“Extremely important because I want my boy to go where he feels most comfortable,” said Rev. Michael Rahlf from Janesville.

When COVID-19 forced the campus to close this spring, the admissions office knew it needed to remain active and started connecting with prospective students virtually.

“We pretty much immediately transitioned to a virtual model. So we’ve had a chance to do a lot of video interviews over the course of the lockdown with prospective students,” said Maribeth Franken, associate director of admissions at St. Norbert.

The college reopened for these tours on June 1. They were one of the first in the area to make that decision.

“The reason we did that was because we felt like we could do so safely, otherwise we absolutely would not have opened up,” said Franken.

While COVID-19 has forced the use of masks and social distancing on campus – it hasn’t impacted the one-on-one tours for which this campus is known for.

“We only do one-on-one tours with one family and one tour guide and one-on-one visit appointments with one family and one admission counselor,” Franken said.

Franken says that philosophy called “radical hospitality” builds a strong connection with the students and their families.

“We get to know the prospective students a little bit better and have the opportunity to answer and ask any other questions that they have,” said Franken.

And right now many of those questions concern COVID -19.

“I can’t speak for all parents, I’ll speak for ours and safety is a number one priority for us of course,” Rahlf said.

And Franken’s staff is assuring these visiting parents – the college is safe for the school years ahead.
The college anticipates 550 students will make up the Freshman class in 2021.

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