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New ways to connect: Community conversation focuses on admissions

  • A person looks at a computer screen
    Community conversation:  Ellie Kurlander '24, who will start at William & Mary this fall, discussed how the pandemic has changed her mindset.  Photo by Erin Zagursky
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While the COVID-19 pandemic has changed much for prospective students as they consider their options this spring, it has also made the admission process at William & Mary even more personal and authentic, according to a group of students and staff.

“It’s just taking a little more time and effort, but it’s just so much more personal because they are in my life, in my home,” said Tish Canady, associate dean of admission.

“It’s been really cool to see people and for them to really get to see me,” she added. “They’re all going to be a part of our family anyway. Now we just get to meet them a little earlier.”

Canady participated in the latest installment of President Katherine A. Rowe’s community conversation series, which is being streamed online every Wednesday at noon through May 13. This week’s conversation focused on admission and enrollment challenges during the pandemic and featured Canady along with Hank Blackburn ’20 and Sonia Kinkhabwala ’21, who both serve as student volunteers in Undergraduate Admission, and Ellie Kurlander, who will enter the university this fall as part of W&M’s Class of 2024.

Blackburn and Kinkhabwala said that the admission office has been providing additional ways for prospective and future students to interact with the university, from FaceTime to the new virtual campus tour. Kinkhabwala is also involved with the unversity's Entrepreneurship Hub and brings that background and experience into her work with admissions. 

“Our newest class and newest students are coming to know William & Mary in a completely different way this year,” said Rowe. “Their stories are incredibly exciting and fill me with optimism.”

Kurlander said that the pandemic has caused her mindset to change and that she and her classmates are trying to remain optimistic.

In online chats with other future W&M students, “We’re all just so excited about starting a new chapter,” Kurlander said.

“It’s not a distraction from what’s going on, it’s more this is what our future looks like – that’s something that feels normal, which is really good in times like these.”