Island colleges ease tough senior moments, virtually

Going the distance: They're social-distancing now, but Farmingdale State's diverse student body will be part of this Sunday's Virtual Open House (and back together soon).
By GREGORY ZELLER //

Long Island’s top-shelf institutions of higher learning are springing to action to help one of the pandemic’s healthiest – and most negatively affected – populations.

What a view: Virtual campus tours highlight several Long Island campuses, including Stony Brook University.

Among other well-documented chaos, COVID-19 is wreaking havoc on every level of national education, but especially among university-bound high-schoolers who are a) losing out on proms and other senior-year victory laps and b) caught in the middle of their college-application processes.

No doubt, academia’s coming recovery will be a mountain to climb – but Long Island’s colleges and universities are bringing the mountain to Muhammad, so to speak, with an innovative array of virtual explorations.

Farmingdale State College, for instance, is going all-out for its April 19 Virtual Open House, which combines a livestreamed campus tour, faculty videoconferences and webinars covering everything from academic programming to financial aid.

Before the pandemic was a thing, the Stony Brook University Office of Admissions offered preprogrammed virtual campus tours, split into walkthroughs of the vast university’s academic campuses and residential facilities.

So did the Hofstra University Office of Undergraduate Admissions, offering the incoming a “guided virtual tour” with 360-degree views of Hofstra facilities and the university’s Hempstead campus.

Registration-required virtual tours of SUNY-Old Westbury and the New York Institute of Technology’s Old Westbury and Manhattan campuses can be arranged, while Long Island University has scheduled two online events for students already committed to that bifurcated school: A Virtual Accepted Student Day & Open House for Brookville’s LIU Post campus on April 19 and one for the LIU Brooklyn campus on May 16.

Clipped wings: But Farmingdale State College’s Aviation Flight Center will rise again.

Adelphi University regularly provides virtual tours and interactive campus maps powered by CampusTours Inc., a Pennsylvania-based tech company that creates digital directories and other see-for-yourself content for colleges and universities.

In response to the pandemic, locked-down Adelphi has also scheduled an April 26 online open house, featuring a pre-produced video review of Adelphi’s world-class academic programming, real-time one-on-ones with “personal enrollment counselors” and more.

That’s similar to the programming awaiting prospective students at this Sunday’s Farmingdale State Virtual Open House, which dives even deeper into the prospective student’s thought process.

The three-hour tour is slated to include video presentations on the school’s diverse selection of certificate, undergraduate and graduate-degree programs; live discussions with Farmingdale state teachers and students; copious details on financial-aid programs and campus job opportunities; even virtual strolls through campus gardens and art galleries, plus FSC’s state-of-the-art Aviation Flight Center.

Essentially, the college looked to jam everything it could into the virtual event – a service to high-schoolers who would struggle with their difficult college-selection process in the best of times, according to Farmingdale State Recruitment Events Coordinator Nicole Miller, but in 2020 have been caught in COVID-19’s unpredictable storm.

“We understand this is a very unique time for students in the midst of their college search,” Miller said. “We’re all in this together, and our Virtual Open House is … a safe way to obtain the information needed about Farmingdale State College.”