In her role as Texas Exes scholarships coordinator, Kristy Kimball is well-accustomed to making presentations before crowds of prospective students. But today was the first time she made a presentation alone in her cubicle, on a webcam. Students and their families logged on to UT’s new virtual open house, Longhorn Preview, watched a live video feed of Kimball’s scholarship presentation, and typed in questions for her to answer.
“It did feel a little weird at first,” she says, “not seeing an audience or hearing feedback. But I think it went well.”
As students and their parents typed in questions, they popped up on Kimball’s screen. Then she read them aloud and answered them. She also manned a virtual “booth” that applicants clicked on to chat with her as they browsed an image of a college fair on their screens.
One advantage to virtual recruiting, Kimball says, is that many of the students who logged on live out of state—too far away to stop by an in-person recruiting event on campus. This way, even international students could easily chat one-on-one with Kimball and University representatives from admissions, financial aid, and the various colleges and schools.
Virtual recruiting may also appeal to shy students. “When you’re recruiting in person,” Kimball says, “there can be big crowds and students waiting in line. Some will ask lots of questions; others will grab a brochure off the table and walk away. This way, everyone gets a chance.”