The University of Maine System, Finance Authority of Maine and Maine Department of Education are launching a series of events to help students with the college admissions process as the coronavirus pandemic has upended the traditional college search.

Starting next month, the On Track for College program will offer free virtual events to give students insight into college life and the chance to ask live questions of current college students and recent graduates. There will also be opportunities to schedule and connect with admissions and financial aid experts and access virtual campus tours.

The campaign is launching as the coronavirus pandemic has caused disruptions to college fairs, visits and the day-to-day interactions with school counselors that Maine students and families have long relied on. Applications for first-year admissions among Maine students are down 13 percent across the UMaine System right now compared to the same point in the admissions cycle last year.

“COVID is not going to change our commitment to shaping and securing the college dreams of Maine’s high school students,” University of Maine System Chancellor Dannel Malloy said in a news release. “Our admissions counselors, financial aid experts and student ambassadors will be campaigning throughout the state over the next three months to make sure graduating seniors know their success matters at our universities.”

Ten regionally promoted and two statewide events have been scheduled starting in February and running through April. A full schedule is available online and students will be able to start registering next week.

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