PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB)– Like most colleges, Florida State University’s Panama City campus is offering a mix of on-campus and on-line courses due to the pandemic.
Sophomore Jacob Grice is an electrical engineering major who has fond memories of his freshman year.
“I felt completely comfortable. I got to know people, teachers, professors and students it really helped,” said Grice.
Grice said COVID-19 has changed his college experience.
“Ever since the whole COVID thing came through it’s just really slow now and you can see that all over campus,” Grice said.
Grice hopes the incoming class will have a positive freshman experience like he did.
“I’m hoping with the fall semester and more people around that environment will come back because it was an environment that was really friendly,” Grice said.
Enrollment Director David Henry said colleges around the country have had to get creative with the recruitment process and move many of their information sessions and open houses online.
“We are going to basically have virtual events from now into the beginning of August and what that does is it lets the student know when we’re available and when we’re here,” Henry said.
Henry said the process has pros and cons.
“It does make us more flexible, we don’t have to do the travel time and the travel component, but students do get to miss that face to face interaction,” Henry said.
The nature of the smaller campus still allows for students to take individual tours on campus with masks being required.
Typically, FSU Panama City adds around 40 to 50 new students each class. For Fall 2021, Henry hopes to see 125 new students, as he feels new degree programs and new on-campus housing options will be more of an incentive to students.
Henry added the larger incoming class means student and staff safety will continue to be a priority.
“We will continue to implement testing and encourage vaccinations, not require, but encourage them,” Henry said.