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Onondaga Community College goes online for Spring Open House

Onondaga Community College Facebook

Like other higher education institutions, Onondaga Community College is finding recruiting students challenging in a time of the coronavirus. 

Every April, up to 1,500 prospective students flock to the school’s hilltop campus west of the City of Syracuse, for an annual spring open house. Coronavirus-induced social distancing won’t allow that this year, and OCC’s Vice President of Enrollment Development and Communication Amy Kremenek admitted that makes it tough to invite students to become OCC Lazers.

“We can’t meet students face to face, so what we’re trying to do is to take that atmosphere that we create for Open House and turn that into virtual offerings through our Spring Open House this year,” Kremenek said.

That means a special web page offering virtual tours of campus and live sessions with college experts on topics ranging from how to pay for college, to how to choose a major. Every department is setting up ways to show off facilities. OCC’s enrollment is down to about 10,000 students a year after setting records following the Great Recession. Kremenek expects there will be a bump in admissions this year because of the uncertainties caused by the coronavirus shutdown.

“For many students, they may have had a different plan a month ago,” Kremenek said. “They may have been planning to go away. And now they may be more interested in staying close to home.”

Kremenek said OCC’s $5,000 yearly tuition may also be attractive for families who’ve seen a drop in income, or students whose college savings have taken a hit in the stock market.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.