Langara student admissions remain steady during pandemic

Despite overall increased enrolment, departments’ experience varied greatly

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By Tessa Bartholomeusz

Student admissions to Langara did not go down overall in the current academic year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Associate registrar Irina Bobovski said that while international student enrolment experienced a slight decline, domestic student enrolment did not suffer.

“There is actually an increase in domestic student enrolment for regular studies programs,” she said.

Enrolment for international students decreased. Due to COVID-19 travel and visa restrictions, 156 fewer international students registered at Langara compared to last year.

“Many of the visa offices around the world closed, so students were not able to obtain their visa and the processing times increased tremendously,” Bobovski said.

Film arts hit hard

Film arts program coordinator Jonas Quastel said that the department lost nine out of 10 international students as a result of the pandemic.

“We almost had to delay the year,” he said. “At the end, we’re running it at 70 per cent right now.”

Classes were largely shifted online, reducing much of the program’s appeal. Little else but filming was done in person.

Quastel said that the program needs to be taught in person, and that since Langara announced that on-campus teaching will resume in the fall, applications have increased.

“We are all very excited, and it looks like the applicants are very excited too,” he said.

Little impact felt by nursing department

Kelly Hughes, acting chair for Langara’s school of nursing, said that COVID-19 had no impact on admissions due to the program’s cohort model.

Only 72 students are admitted each fall and spring semester, she said.

Hughes said that applications “far outnumber” seats in the program, so even if fewer applications were received, no impact would be felt.

The nursing program was one of few to retain an on-campus presence due to its lab component, and clinical practicum remained unaffected.

Kristina Liu began her first year in the nursing program last fall.

“I was a little worried about it being online because nursing is really a hands-on program,” Liu said. “I wasn’t sure if my learning would be greatly impacted by it being online.”

Liu has now grown to prefer the online lectures, seeing that the content is delivered as effectively and that she doesn’t have to commute as often.

Knowing that she will be heading back to campus full-time in the fall, Liu is looking forward to the “real-life” college experience and socializing with friends and classmates.

Admissions looking up 

On March 8, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced a return to in-person instruction at post-secondary schools. She said, a few days before, that she hopes that B.C. would be in a ‘“post-pandemic world” by summer.

B.C.’s immunization plan also may have an impact on the number of admissions. Phase four begins in July, wherein the general population ages 18 to 59 are to be immunized. This final phase plans to wrap up in September, with a majority of the province having already received a second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Registration for the upcoming summer and fall school year at Langara has not yet started, Bobovski said. But so far, the number of applications received for the summer has increased by 16 per cent compared to last year.

“We all in admissions are very curious how this will affect our fall enrolment,” she said.

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