Coronavirus: COVID-19 pandemic forces SJSU to hold first ever virtual town hall for admitted students

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- National College Decision Day is on May 1, which means the pressure is on for high school seniors to make a choice about where they'll be heading in the fall. But because of the novel coronavirus pandemic, some students will be choosing schools they've never even visited.

Many universities are now turning to the internet to help deliver a sense of the campus experience.

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San Jose State University was looking forward to welcoming more than 10,000 admitted students and their families to campus over the weekend to help them learn more about what it's like to be a Spartan in Silicon Valley. Instead, they're holding their first ever virtual open house, which includes live webinars for students to get their questions answered in real time.

"Students and families can take a look at videos and really learn about their college that they're planning on entering into," said Patrick Day, SJSU's vice president for student affairs. "They can meet their dean... they can interact with the faculty of the department they're planning on majoring in."

The Class of 2020 has had its senior year upended in so many ways. Milestone events such as proms and college visits have been canceled and graduation ceremonies could be next to go.

"It was really a bummer, honestly I wanted to meet everyone, meet the new students, and I didn't really get a chance to do that because of the virus," said Santa Clarita resident Saudia Jones, who plans on attending SJSU in the fall to major in business.

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Housing, finances, academic and student life offerings are just some of the many factors for students to consider. Janani Kumar, a future Spartan from Cupertino, is looking forward to staying close to home.

Kumar said, "The class sizes are relatively smaller and that is important to me because it leads to more student-focused lecture, and I can make sure that I have all my questions answered and that I understand all the material."

College admissions counselors say it's important for seniors to do their own research and to connect with student-led organizations on campus via social media to get a better understanding about campus culture.

"Collect all the facts and use your logic and your gut feeling," said Namita Gupta, owner of South Bay-based Knavigators College Admissions Counseling. "You'll make the right decision."

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