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La Salle News

March 30, 2020

How to choose a college during the coronavirus pandemic

Tour gudie giving families a tour.

Tips for graduating students on choosing a college or university during the COVID-19 outbreak, which is temporarily closing campuses and canceling tours.

Each Spring brings daily tour groups of prospective students and their families to La Salle University’s campus. Those personal tours have been postponed, as have La Salle’s Blue and Gold Days for accepted students.

The outbreak of a coronavirus disease called COVID-19 has led colleges and universities to reimagine how they interact with prospective and accepted students. To ease tension in this uncertain time, La Salle is one of the universities nationally to extend its deposit deadline to June 1. For hundreds of thousands of students, this global pandemic has complicated their college decision process.

COVID-19’s impact on higher education is not yet fully known. One side effect, according to a prediction from The Princeton Review, is that nearly three out of four prospective students will choose a college or university 180 miles from their home.

“It’s an entirely different landscape, not only here in Philadelphia but across the country,” said Jim Plunkett, La Salle’s Executive Director of Admissions.

Families touring La Salle's Campus

Here are a few pointers for graduating students who are navigating the college decision process:

Make a tech connection

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, colleges and universities have postponed their on-campus events and day-long student experiences. Now, these institutions are transitioning those face-to-face interactions into virtual opportunities. For example, La Salle’s Blue and Gold Day will offer information sessions, video-recorded campus tours, breakout academic sessions with faculty from each of the University’s three schools—all of which can be viewed from the comfort of home.

For the latest information, visit and follow La Salle Admissions on Instagram and La Salle University on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook for more about the University.

Parent and Student talking Do your homework—again

It’s likely that graduates from the Class of 2020 already have visited college campuses as part of their rigorous search process. Students should rely on notes and feelings from those initial visits and conversations with university faculty, staff, and students. They should trust their instincts, too.

For those who haven’t toured a campus, do your homework. Visit the university’s website, read its latest news releases, and inquire for more information.

“Not all prospective or admitted students get the opportunity to visit campus, especially students coming from across the United States or from other countries,” said Plunkett. “Our Admissions staff, for example, routinely works with students who are unable to visit campus to give them a sense of the authentic student experience.”

Examine a university’s COVID-19 response

From their list of top college choices, students should look at how those institutions have communicated during the COVID-19 public health crisis. How often have they shared messages with their University community? What kind of academic or operational changes have they instituted? Are they adhering to best practices from global health agencies like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention?

How a college or university operates during a time of crisis is a strong indicator of how it will operate during business as usual.

Speak with those you trust

Prospective students should lean upon those they most trust. Their parents and families, as well as high school counselors, are great places to start.

Ask us for help

Most colleges and universities have pivoted their courses and operations to remote settings. While admissions counselors may be working from home, they remain available to field questions, offer updates, and provide details about their universities. If you need help, they can offer it. La Salle Admissions can be reached at 215-951-1500.

—Christopher A. Vito

For prospective students 

The Office of Admissions will host virtual information sessions for prospective students (sophomore, juniors, and seniors) at 2 p.m. each weekday.    

For accepted students 

Students accepted to the University will have the option to attend an exclusive session at 2 p.m. each weekday. 

More information 

La Salle University Admissions Counselors are available weekdays from 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. by calling 215-951-1500. Additionally, La Salle Admissions Counselors are checking their email around the clock. Feel free to call and email to learn how to inquire about application review, financial aid, deposit deadlines, or register for an online session.