Image: Open house poster/Provided
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Everything you should know about the upcoming virtual event

From March 15-20, the University of Ottawa will be hosting admission events where incoming students can learn more about what the university has to offer. 

In the past, this annual event has been an opportunity for students entering post-secondary education to ask questions about their programs, learn more about the admissions process, and tour the campus. 

This year however, due to the pandemic, the spring open house will take place entirely online.  

“The pandemic has required us to completely adapt how we connect and help future students with their choice for postsecondary studies,” said Michelle Beauchamp, the university’s director of recruitment and admissions. 

“It provides us the opportunity to test new ways to reach students and has allowed students from across the world to participate in events that were previously only accessible to students from Canada.”  

The event, organized by the University of Ottawa’s Liaison Office, will be hosted across multiple platforms, with live presentations being hosted on Zoom and Microsoft Teams. 

The virtual kiosks will use Easy Virtual Fairs which is the same platform the fall open house used as well as many of the Career Corner’s virtual career fairs. Since Feb. 26, there have been live campus tours taking place on Zoom.

With this new online format, attendees will be able to participate from their homes, anywhere in Canada or internationally. 

One such attendee will be future U of O student, Élize Earwicker. Admitted to the university for linguistics in the fall of 2021, Earwicker has signed up for the open houses to discover her department and find the residence which is right for her.

Personally, Earwicker finds there are both negatives and positives to the change.

“I do feel that I am missing out by not being able to attend a physical open house because I have only been to Ottawa once before, and it would have been nice to get to know the area in person,” said Earwicker. 

“Nonetheless, due to current circumstances, it is understandable that it has to be done online and it is still a good alternative.”

“If there was a physical open house, I would have taken the time to visit. However, I do feel that it is beneficial for me, as I live about a six hour drive away, that it is accessible online.”

Beauchamp echoed those thoughts, sharing that the move to online can’t simply replace the in person experience but virtual is the next best thing the university could offer. 

“Although it cannot replace the experience students will get while coming physically on campus, the opportunity to connect with staff, current students and professors will go a long way in helping make their choice.”

There will be about 150 presentations offered over the course of the event’s five days with time slots in the mornings and evenings to accommodate both domestic and international students. 

The event will also be organized to give future students the most information possible as they learn the ins and outs of the U of O.

“Many members from various faculties and services across the university are participating to help future students get answers to their questions and help them determine if they would like to study at the university,” said Beauchamp.  

“A lot of the content will be geared towards helping them understand the next steps regarding admissions, scholarships, [and] housing.” 

Over the course of the open house, future students and potential applicants can also meet virtually with professors and current students with the possibility of deans or vice deans joining in on presentations.

The event will also allow future students to access virtual kiosks that will include pre-recorded presentations, videos, PDF brochures, and links to web pages that should be relevant to future students. 

At the moment, there are currently over 1,300 individuals registered for the Virtual Spring Open House.