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Open houses are back – see when you can visit NJ college campuses

Proof of COVID vaccination or a negative test is required, but that hasn’t stopped hundreds of potential students and their families from heading to the Montclair State University campus earlier this month to the institution’s first face-to-face open house since the start of the pandemic.

“We were able to host almost the same open house event as before the pandemic,” said Wendy Lin-Cook, vice president of registration management at MSU. “And we’re having another open house in November.”

Colleges and universities had limited opportunities to give students and families a real feel for their campuses in 2020, when events were constrained by terms or schools chose against big events themselves in the interests of safety – a vaccine would not be available until December, and only for certain groups initially.

“We are very happy that we are back and that the students can see us in person and get a feel for what Montclair is for themselves,” said Lin-Cook.

The fall months are when higher education institutions usually open their doors to large crowds and show off their grounds, equipment, and faculty. Schools offer students the option to book their own tours, but there are only a limited number each day.

“Registration has been strong so far, so we look forward to a big crowd on October 30,” said Chris Krzak, vice president of registration and retention at Georgian Court University in Lakewood.

The GCU open house will be held mostly outdoors, Krzak said. Masks are mandatory when guests travel to indoor locations, such as laboratories and classrooms.

“The best way to know if you belong to this campus is for students and families to come for a walk on the grounds,” Krzak added. “Often it’s a family that chooses a university together.”

Rider University, located in Lawrence, flaunts its typical open house crowds on six dates. Two took place in September, two more are scheduled for late October and two more are scheduled for November.

Each event lasts three hours, with most of the time being spent outdoors, but there are presentations indoors, where masks will be required.

“We use what’s called a concept of free roaming. It’s a bit like choosing your own adventure,” said Erin Sheehan, assistant director of admissions at Rider.

Other upcoming open house events include:

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