FMCC trying to recruit students

JOHNSTOWN — Fulton-Montgomery Community College has updated admissions and enrollment processes to reach prospective students remotely while physical visits to college campuses are indefinitely put on hold amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Vice President for Student Affairs Jane Kelley reported to the Board of Trustees on Thursday that the college has transitioned to a fully remote model for recruitment, admissions and enrollment since the campus closed to all non-essential personnel on March 13.

“As student affairs professionals we do everything we can to support the academic mission of the college. We like academic affairs had to take a 180-degree turn and determine how we could best serve our students,” said Kelley.

The college admissions team has transitioned to a remote recruitment model and staff members have contacted local high school guidance counselors to inform them that FMCC remains open remotely and is prepared to support new college students in the fall.

Typical college recruitment events and visits at FMCC and colleges across the state have been canceled or postponed by the stay at home order issued by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in March. In the interim the college is trying to reach prospective students via email, text and social media.

The college website features a previously produced virtual tour of the campus to help students familiarize themselves with facilities and FMCC will host a remote information session for prospective students with support from the State University of New York on April 30.

The college temporarily paused registration until April 1 after the campus was forced to close on March 13 while FMCC administrators worked to prepare and roll out remote learning and enrollment structures.

The college in recent years has faced declines in enrollment and Vice President for Administration and Finance Gregg Wilbur acknowledged the school is currently seeing softer registration numbers for the upcoming semesters than it projected.

For the upcoming summer semester, the college reportedly registered 177 students representing 59.87 Full Time Equivalence as of April 1. On the same date last year, the college had registered 234 students representing 79.27 FTE.

For the fall semester as of April 1 FMCC registered 548 students representing 373.40 FTE, whereas on the same date last year the school had registered 605 students representing 451.8 FTE.

Kelley noted that the college has resumed processing new admissions on a daily basis and has streamlined the process to ensure students advance through the advisement and financial aid processes with staff members remotely. Once those steps are complete, admissions counselors follow up with new students within seven to 10 days to make sure all needed information has been received and students are satisfied with their course schedules.

Additionally, Kelley reported that advisors have been successfully contacting returning students to schedule remote advisement appointments with counselors completing roughly 20 to 25 sessions each day to ensure students are able to enroll in classes for the upcoming semesters.

Although most college staff members are currently working from home, students and community members can still call campus offices to reach staff members whose calls are being transferred directly to their home setups via Grasshopper, a service that provides access to remote work tools.

With SUNY schools announcing this month that summer sessions at all colleges in the network will provide summer sessions entirely remotely this year and schools being directed to prepare remote learning plans for the fall semester in case campuses are still unable to open in the fall due to the coronavirus, Kelley said college administrators are working to ensure pathways for transfers to other schools remain open and easily accessible for local students who may opt to delay plans to go away to college amidst the current uncertainty.

“The transfer piece we think will be very important for students who may choose to stay home for this year,” said Kelley.

By Patricia Older

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