Marketing & Communications  


February 27, 2002 - Grand Rapids, Michigan, (February 21, 2002) -- Aquinas College has implemented a new tool in its student recruitment efforts. Called "Virtual Visit," the Web-based application allows admissions representatives to custom design a "Visit" to campus for prospective students who, otherwise, might not have the time or ability to see the campus before making a college selection.

Tom Mikowski, Director of Admissions and leading architect of the new tool, is quick to point out that the "Virtual Visit" is not designed to replace a personal campus visit.

"We incorporated this Web-conferencing technology into our recruitment efforts as a way of providing prospective students with a more in-depth, initial introduction to Aquinas. It gives our admissions representatives the opportunity to enhance phone interviews using the Web-based presentation," said Mikowski. "We're excited, I don't know of any other college doing this."

Admissions representative Damon Bouwkamp has already utilized the "Virtual Visit" with five or six high school students.

"This isn't like going from page to page, like virtual campus tours you'll find on many college Web sites. It's more than that. It's a counselor interacting with a prospective student in a presentation that is custom-tailored to each student's area of interest," noted Bouwkamp. "Reaction," he said, "has been very positive; adding that everyone he's worked with has since applied to Aquinas."

Each presentation takes anywhere from 30 to 40 minutes. To make an appointment, a prospective student completes an on-line registration form that gives counselors information about a student's particular interests. The admissions representative then designs a personal presentation. It will include information on the College, academic programs, student activities, athletics, residence life, service-learning programs as well as visual tour of campus and community highlights.

Amy Eckhout, a high school senior from Cadillac, Michigan, said she was too busy to make personal visits to all the colleges she was interested in and felt Aquinas' "Virtual Visit" was helpful in deciding on at least one of her selected visits.

"The counselor took me through the programs and shared some activities from campus life. It was like being on really makes a difference".

As a result of her experience with the Web-based "Visit", Eckhout, in fact, made a personal visit to see the College. Admissions representatives note that she continues to maintain a serious interest in attending Aquinas.

The "Virtual Visit" is easy to use. There's nothing to download. In addition to an available telephone, prospective students need Internet access, a 56K modem, a computer with a 166 mhz Pentium processor and Windows 95 or newer.

The admissions' office has already used the "Visit" with prospects from both near and far, including Michigan, Minnesota, Illinois, Wisconsin, South Dakota, Ohio and Indiana, among others. A "Virtual Visit" appointment can be made by visiting