Throughout the month of April, students admitted to the Class of 2024 will meet with University faculty, spend time with current students, and take tours of the University — all online.
Every year, the Princeton Preview program brings admitted students to campus for a weekend, allowing them to glimpse life at the University. Before most students left campus and began online instruction, the University cancelled the program in March. But Orange Key tour guides, student leaders, and the Office of Admission have worked since then to quickly develop a virtual experience.
“We want to bring our love and enthusiasm for Princeton [to] their computer screens,” Rachel Hazan ’21, Orange Key Co-Chair and Undergraduate Student Government (USG) Treasurer, wrote in an email to The Daily Princetonian.
The virtual program creates space for interactions similar to those that would have taken place during Preview weekend. Through an effort by Orange Key, USG, and Campus Visit Ambassadors, admitted students can participate in “Tiger Talks,” one-on-one Zoom meetings with current students. Almost 1,000 appointments are available, accompanied by a directory through which admitted students can choose current students who match their interests.
Sakura Price ’22, an Orange Key tour guide, said the talks can simulate the experience of going to the Activities Fair.
“Obviously you’re not getting to see the daily life of a Princeton student,” she said, “but the variety of programming makes it so there are definitely ways to get to know Princeton in a similar way [to Preview].”
“We hope that our admitted students take advantage of these opportunities to connect, albeit virtually, and can find answers to their questions as they make their decision about where to spend the next four years,” wrote Deputy University Spokesperson Michael Hotchkiss to the ‘Prince.’
The Office of Admission will hold virtual panels featuring administrators, faculty, and students. It is also sending admitted students weekly emails about the University’s different facets.
Organizers of the virtual preview program are engaging in different social media campaigns to share different sides of the University. Orange Key tour guides are posting student profiles under #WhyPrincetonU and sharing information about campus life through videos entitled “Speak Like a Princetonian.” Another video series, “10 Questions with a Tour Guide,” features Orange Key tour guides answering common questions about the University.
Price explained that “Speak Like a Princetonian” will help familiarize students with campus culture by explaining what she called “Princeton slang” — words like concentration, precept, late meal, eating clubs, and the Street.
Despite the setbacks caused by the cancellation of on-campus Preview activities, Hotchkiss and Hazan agreed that the continuation of virtual activities sends a welcoming message for admitted students.
“The videos, articles, student and faculty profiles, and organic interactions between students are showing just how much Princeton is loved by its students,” Hotchkiss wrote, “and we feel that is coming across even when we aren’t on campus.”
For one student admitted to the Class of 2024, the process of deciding at which school to matriculate has been “kind of rough.”
“I’m just relying on people I already know, who are my friends, or people who the admissions offices have set up for us to meet with, so it’s a pretty small sample size,” said Samuel Ahn, a current senior at Hunter College High School in New York. “I feel like my preconceived notions about these schools are probably going to factor more into my decision than if I were able to visit on campus.”
When asked by the ‘Prince’ if she had a message for admitted students, Hazan wrote, “We’re sad that we cannot welcome you onto campus this year, but that does not make you any less a part of our community and we’re SO excited for you to join us next year!!”
The virtual Princeton Preview activities are all housed on a new website. The site includes blog posts, resource links, videos and social media, and a calendar of the virtual events.