Last week, I shared the law school’s swift journey to online instruction. This week, I would like to tell you the story of our law admissions team and their remarkable transformation of spring recruitment efforts.
March and April are critical times for law school admissions -- we issue congratulatory messages of admittance and prospective students make their decisions. One of the most important events in that process is Preview Day, when admitted students and their families come to campus to see the school and hear from professors, students, alumni and career service professionals. Historically, students who attend Preview Day have been far more likely to choose Lewis & Clark than those who do not attend.
Preview Day was scheduled for April 4. By March 13, it became apparent that we might need a Plan B. Mimi Huang, Assistant Dean of Admissions, and Judy Asbury, Assistant Dean of Development and Communications, brainstormed ideas of how to successfully convert our admissions preview to an online experience. Rather than host a several-hour online “Preview Day,” Mimi came up with the idea of a virtual “Preview Week,” with sessions taking place each day during the noon hour from April 6 through April 10.
On March 16, Associate Director of Admissions Natasha Richmond developed the initial structure for the week and organized all of the panelists. The first three days featured academic specialty areas and clinics; the Thursday session was devoted to Career Services and externships; and Friday featured current students.
On March 20, we hired a video team to create avirtual visit video with key messages. Using new footage plus existing video, we completed the video in a week.
On March 23, the Admissions and Communications team began to createVirtual Campus Visitpages for our website that showcased the campus and the Lewis & Clark student experience. We also posted recordings of the Preview Week sessions. The pages went live on March 30.
As Mimi explained: “Preview Week April 6 - 10 consisted of 13 panels over five days and featured 49 panelists from the Lewis & Clark community. We estimate that we had over 500 viewers over the course of the week with about 125 visitors joining us for each of the first three days alone.
“With so many sessions, we feared the level of engagement might wane toward the end of the week, but things turned out to be quite the opposite! The highlight of the week was Friday's Current Student Q&A panel which featured six of our amazing students answering a continual stream of questions for a solid hour.
“For those who were not able to participate, we posted recordings of everything to the web. As of yesterday, our reports show that the recordings have been watched or downloaded by over 338 unique viewers in the last ten days. To provide some context, we usually welcome between 100-150 admitted students to our annual Preview Weekend. I'd say our first Virtual Law School Preview was a great success!”
One of the comments from an admitted student attending the virtual preview captured the spirit of the week, “I was impressed by the faculty, staff, and alumni for coming across so genuine even though the events were hosted online. I feel confident that I am making the right decision and I am so excited to attend!”
We don’t yet know how this strange time will affect our fall enrollment. I am so pleased by the efforts of our staff and faculty to do everything we can to reach out to those who are considering law school and those returning to law school. COVID-19 has not changed the desire of those who seek a rewarding career as a lawyer. And we will not let it stop us in answering that call.
Next week: the student experience
Take care and stay well,
Dean, Lewis & Clark Law School
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