Notre Dame campus tours resume for prospective students
Megan Fahrney | Wednesday, September 15, 2021
This fall, on-campus information sessions and tours have been brought back to full capacity for prospective Notre Dame students.
The Office of Undergraduate Admissions canceled on-campus offerings in March of 2020 due to the onset of COVID-19. The office has been offering virtual campus tours and information sessions since that spring. Limited capacity on-campus offerings resumed during the summer of 2021.
In accordance with the University’s visitors policy, all visitors must wear masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status. Tour guides must wear masks inside specified campus buildings, such as the first floor of McKenna Hall, where information sessions take place.
Maria Finan, assistant director for undergraduate admissions, said there have not been issues bringing back on-campus tours and sessions for prospective students.
“I think we’ve done a good job of clearly communicating expectations when it’s coming to things like you have to mask if you are coming to a session,” Finan said.
Virtual offerings, including information sessions and tours, continue to be options for prospective students.
Finan said virtual tours are a good option for those who live far or for whom it is too expensive to travel.
Senior Sara Wallander started leading in-person tours the summer after her first year, switched to guiding virtual tours and is now back in person. She said turnout for virtual tours was high.
“We had a lot of international students on those tours, and there’s less international students on the in-person tours, so I thought that was a good way to outreach,” Wallander said.
For virtual tours, a couple of student guides discuss campus as pictures are shown and answer questions prospective students ask on a virtual chat.
On-campus visits are now offered Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Though no tours are offered on football Saturdays, the Office of Undergraduate Admissions decided to increase the number of tours given on Fridays before home football games.
Finan said the University is now offering five different session times on home football Fridays, and they are completely booked through the season.
“We’ve seen a lot of [high] attendance,” Finan said. “I think for families, if they’re able to come in person, [it has] been really exciting for them to walk around and see campus.”
Junior Christine Van Kirk gave her first tour Friday. She said she thinks in-person tours help get students excited about applying to Notre Dame and that students are happy to walk around campus.
“Even this past game weekend, I think hearing the band is a lot different than watching a video about the band,” Van Kirk said.
Finan said she does not think there is a way to replicate the feeling of stepping on campus and getting a feel for what it is like in-person.
“Notre Dame has a beautiful campus,” Finan said. “You step foot on it, you’re struck by the natural beauty, but also [you get] a sense for the way that students are just happy to be here and that they feel like they’re members of the Notre Dame family.”