Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, colleges across the United States may feel the impact in freshman enrollment patterns. According to a survey released by quatromoney, families are rethinking their children’s college choices.

According to quatromoney, high school seniors are rethinking their college decision because they want to be closer to home, don’t want to lose tuition money or fear getting coronavirus at college. But, some students quatromoney surveyed were not swayed to change their college decision due to COVID-19. Some students are not reconsidering their decision because they believe their chances of getting sick are the same no matter where they go, the outbreak will be contained by this fall or people are overreacting to the current situation.

In the coronavirus survey results, quatromoney found families located in the West and Northeast are more inclined to choose another college based on the outbreak than families in the South and Midwest. Families who live in a region with confirmed cases of COVID-19 are also experiencing second thoughts.

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As a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, students were ordered by the University of Wisconsin to leave campus, and classes were moved online for the remainder of the spring semester. The university provided refunds for all students who are not living in the dorms during this time.

Many students living in the dorms abruptly left campus to lessen the spread of COVID-19. An incoming UW student, Quinn Turke, spoke about how UW handled students’ concerns regarding the coronavirus outbreak.

“I think UW-Madison did a good job in refunding students who lived in the dorms,” Turke said.

Another incoming UW student, Sophie Schwartzbauer, shared thoughts on entering college during the coronavirus pandemic.

Schwartzbauer said she is still committed to UW regardless of the pandemic.

“I’m still pretty confident regarding my choice and attending UW-Madison,” Schwartzbauer said. “I’m pretty optimistic that things will be back to normal by fall.”

UW also moved all summer classes online. Schwartzbauer said she is concerned SOAR (Student Orientation, Advising and Registration) and events over the summer will be cancelled or postponed.

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Though there is uncertainty on continuing incoming freshman events, Schwartzbauer said UW is responsive and provides updates for the incoming freshman. Schwartzbauer said UW provided a virtual tour online as a substitute for the traditional on-campus visit.

“UW-Madison just keeps us updated with emails, and they said any changes would be on the admissions website,” Schwartzbauer said.

Director of the Center for the First-Year Experience Carren Martin, who organizes SOAR, wrote about recent updates to SOAR due to the COVID-19 outbreak in an email to the Badger Herald.

Because of an increased risk of exposing people to the coronavirus, Martin said the SOAR teams decided to not hold in-person orientations.

“We shared with admitted students that for the safety of our students, families and campus community, SOAR will be held online this summer,” Martin said.

Martin said incoming students can still participate in orientation activities virtually. Parents, family members and supporters of incoming Badgers are able to learn about campus resources and support networks online as well.

Martin said students can still engage in common orientation activities that are traditionally in person.

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“New undergraduate students will enroll in classes, meet peers and an academic advisor and get connected to campus resources through an online experience,” Martin said.

Though orientation won’t be in person on UW’s campus, Martin said the SOAR team still wants to provide a welcoming online experience for new students.

SOAR hopes to provide a smooth transition into UW to incoming freshmen and wants to remind students the SOAR team is available for any support they need during this time.

“Our entire SOAR team is committed to giving all incoming Badgers and their families a warm Wisconsin welcome and making this a memorable, informative experience for them,” Martin said.

Martin said the SOAR team will release further updates regarding orientation as the start date of the program approaches.