How one community college is using online talk shows to drive recruitment

Online talk shows, virtual open houses and Zoom office hours are among the initiatives MCCC launched to connect with prospective students
By: | May 20, 2020
MCCC’s new online talk show highlights different areas of the college—from Financial Aid to Student Life and Leadership—to connect with students and provide the information they need for decision-making.MCCC’s new online talk show highlights different areas of the college—from Financial Aid to Student Life and Leadership—to connect with students and provide the information they need for decision-making.
A specialist in the Strategic Enrollment Services Department at Mercer County Community College in New Jersey, Gina Migliaccio serves current and prospective students.

A specialist in the Strategic Enrollment Services Department at Mercer County Community College in New Jersey, Gina Migliaccio serves current and prospective students.

Frustrated. Scared. Lost.

At Mercer County Community College in New Jersey, we understand how the coronavirus pandemic has impacted our students. In Strategic Enrollment Services, we are here. Our duty to provide remote services to students has never been more important. The mission from the very start of remote operations has always been to make the virtual experience as personal and human as possible for the campus and greater Mercer County community.

Given the many departments and services MCCC has to offer, Assistant Dean of Strategic Enrollment Services Savita Bambhrolia and I began brainstorming creative ways to promote them in the virtual space. One way: the Virtual Viking Hour.


Read: Updated: 111 free higher ed resources during coronavirus pandemic


Showcasing departments and services

Using the Zoom platform, MCCC’s Virtual Viking Hour talk show is highlighting different areas of the college—from Financial Aid to Student Life and Leadership—every Tuesday and Thursday from 3-4 p.m. through June 11. This enrollment initiative provides students with the connection and information they need now, and serves as a morale-boosting, virtual networking opportunity to both engage students and improve retention.

Keeping the talk show model in perspective, our Strategic Enrollment Services team serves as host and the different campus services team members are featured guests for each session. Because times are a bit stressful now, the Viking Virtual Hour gives our students the chance to grab some coffee, relax and chat candidly with us, and all the while, we’re serving our student base.


Read: How COVID-19 is changing the face of college admissions


Embracing virtual solutions

In our department, videoconferencing has become the “new normal” way in which we conduct business. It has helped us to connect our services with faculty, staff and students.

In conjunction with our website, tools such as Zoom and social media outlets are becoming necessary resources. We use them to let students know that despite being physically closed, MCCC’s community is still a safe haven and is here for them. We anticipate that we’ll be using much more of these virtual solutions in the future.

MCCC has seized the opportunity to implement various virtual initiatives and assist our top stakeholders: students.

Like so many college departments, Strategic Enrollment Services had quite a few in-person recruitment events planned. But with the remote transition, we all had to pivot and get creative. Going from a physical space on campus to the confines of home is a totally different experience. However, MCCC has seized the opportunity to implement various virtual initiatives and assist our top stakeholders: students.


Read: Will rough economy bring community college enrollment boost?


Here are four more of MCCC’s virtual efforts.

  1. Virtual office hours: Our “live” Strategic Enrollment Services operations moved to online sessions for continued student assistance and registration through Zoom.
  2. Online student outreach: In addition to advertising Strategic Enrollment Services events on the MCCC website, we will also be producing and posting service-based videos to further serve our students. We have launched new Strategic Enrollment Services Facebook and Instagram pages, which will expand our student outreach and virtually connect MCCC’s services.
  3. Division-specific online open houses: A three-day virtual event in May, several Zoom sessions will cover the Liberal Arts, Health Professions and Business/STEM divisions. Many of MCCC’s faculty members and programs will be featured to present a robust set of choices for prospective and current students.
  4. Electronic diplomas for graduates: MCCC has arranged for each graduate to receive their diploma, along with a congratulatory letter, electronically. Physical diplomas will also be mailed to graduates in the weeks that follow.

Though we are physically apart, we want our current and prospective students to know that MCCC still has their best interests at heart.


A specialist in the Strategic Enrollment Services Department at Mercer County Community College in New Jersey, Gina Migliaccio serves current and prospective students to provide a high-quality, personalized academic experience. 


UB’s coronavirus page offers complete coverage of the impacts on higher ed.


Interested in technology? Keep up with the UB Tech® conference.