The Daily Tar Heel

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Thursday February 9th

Virtual tours, information panels give prospective students chance to learn about UNC

Admissions Ambassador Gabriela Duncan poses for a portrait outside of Jackson Hall on Feb. 17, 2021. Duncan gives virtual tours of the UNC campus to prospective students.
Buy Photos Admissions Ambassador Gabriela Duncan poses for a portrait outside of Jackson Hall on Feb. 17, 2021. Duncan gives virtual tours of the UNC campus to prospective students.

For many students, a guided campus tour marks their first time walking through the Pit or taking a picture at the Old Well. But due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in-person tours have been temporarily suspended. 

In an effort to resume this tradition, the UNC Visitors Center is hosting tours over Zoom so people can catch sight of campus — through the screen, at least.

Prior to the pandemic, the Visitors Center led a campus tour called "Sense of Place," in which participants were guided through campus to learn about UNC history, traditions and more. The Visitors Center now offers the "Sense of Place" 45-minute tour every day via Zoom, led by tour guide Spencer Anderson.

“Giving tours and hearing from our tour guides really is like our magic sauce,” Rhonda Beatty, director of UNC Visitors Center, said.

The Zoom tour follows Anderson around UNC's campus and offers several breaks for participants to ask questions.  

“This is another way we can make sure that we’re sharing all the great things about the University,” Beatty said. “All the great work that the students, faculty and staff do, and so now we’re able to show them this.” 

The Visitors Center holds virtual tours on weekdays at 2:30 p.m. Those interested can register on the center's website

Additionally, UNC Undergraduate Admissions, which normally holds guided tours, launched informational panels for prospective students. These range from more general information sessions to ones for specific groups of people and demographics. 

In each panel, two ambassadors will begin with an information session, where they share their experiences at UNC. Following the information session, the ambassadors will hold a Q&A session for prospective students to learn more about the admissions process and the University.

Gabriela Duncan, a junior studying environmental justice, recently became an admissions ambassador. She enjoys sharing her experiences with prospective students. 

“I like it because we can be as authentic as we can,” Duncan said.

Annie Smith, a newly admitted student to the class of 2025, attended a virtual "Sense of Place" tour earlier this week and plans to attend an admissions panel soon.

“The virtual tour was definitely a good way to get a feel for the campus if you haven’t already,” Smith said. “I’m excited though to hear more from the student admissions ambassadors about their experiences on campus at UNC.”

Duncan said she appreciates the accessibility these virtual events offer for international or out-of-state prospective students, since they no longer have to journey to Chapel Hill to learn what UNC is all about. 

“I like how we’re able to reach more people, and I know that even once we switch back to in-person tours, we’re still going to have some of the virtual components because it’s going really well,” Duncan said. 

As an admissions ambassador, one piece of advice Duncan gives to prospective students is to get as involved as possible and not be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. 

“I always think about my time here and how, if I didn’t go to this specific meeting, how my whole life would be completely different,” Duncan said. “I always talk about how joining band has been really good for me, how I’ve gotten to meet a lot of wonderful people and how the school is surprisingly really small.”

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