Augustana College offering in person visits

Differences that may be echoed in the fall can be seen in the campus tours

ROCK ISLAND, Ill. — Augustana is working on it's plan to bring students back to campus safely. 

The start to that process can be seen in the colleges changes to their in person visits that started back up yesterday. 

Admissions ambassador Kassidy Belcher is just excited to be back on campus, even if that means potentially having to wear a mask in classes. 

"As long as we're open and have in person classes, I'll do whatever I need to do." 

Campus visits are back on, and for Belcher, she says it makes all the difference in recruitment. 

"If you just look on the website you don't get that connection that you would get on campus, which is important."

Visiting senior Kameron Bustos came from the Chicago suburbs to tour the school in person. He says he's done some online programs schools have offered, but this is his first in person visit. 

"Just being able to understand the campus life, talking to admissions counselors, understanding what they're looking for, things like that."

The average freshman class is more than 700 students. Right now enrollment is down by about 100 students. 

Augustana Campus Visiting Manager Anna Castro says that she believes it is largely due to COVID-19. 

"We're in the same boat as everyone else and we're just trying to figure it out as we go."

There are other things still to be determined by the college, like if students will have to wear masks while learning in the classroom. But for now, Augustana is focusing on making prospective students feel at home and picture themselves attending the school. 

RELATED: Students must wear masks as Illinois schools reopen in fall 2020

RELATED: Iowa pauses ticket sales until stadium capacity limit known

Castro says, "They need to be able to imagine themselves here. It's one thing to see pictures online, to actually walk campus, see the dorm rooms, see the classrooms, they can imagine themselves here and really get a feel for what the college is like." 

Any small step towards welcoming students back on campus is a move in the right direction.