Hillel & BBYO Team Up to Offer HS Seniors Virtual College Visits

In a new partnership, college students and Hillel staff from dozens of Hillels are sharing the campus communities they love with the high school students of BBYO

WASHINGTON – As high school students around the world must soon decide where to matriculate as college freshmen this fall, the coronavirus pandemic means that they are unable to visit college and university campuses in person. In a first-of-its-kind partnership, Hillel International, the largest Jewish campus organization, and BBYO, the Jewish teen movement, are connecting graduating high school seniors with current college students for virtual campus visits and Q&A sessions so prospective and accepted students can get to know the campus communities they are considering joining. Many of these campus visits are also open to parents and high school juniors who are exploring college options.

“In this time of uncertainty and fear, one of the most important things we can do for the class of 2024 is to give them a chance to meet and hear from members of campus communities,” said Mimi Kravetz, chief experience officer at Hillel International. “This partnership represents an idea whose time has truly come. Working together with BBYO allows us to create real, personal connections for teens as they become part of Hillel. Necessity has been the mother of this new approach, but we hope that this partnership creates a pathway for young Jews to move between communities for years to come.”

“We know we’ve been successful cultivating BBYO teens’ Jewish identity when they start seeking opportunities to engage Jewishly on campus,” said Rebecca Cohen, director of the Anita M. Perlman Women’s Leadership Initiative at BBYO. “Partnering with Hillel in this way allows BBYO teens to meet future classmates, understand what’s waiting for them on campus, and ask important questions to help them commit to a college or university. In a time where social distancing is the norm, these virtual sessions allow for social connection that can last a lifetime. Though visits to campus may have been canceled, this is the next best opportunity for our teens to experience what the future has in store over the next four years and beyond.”

“As someone who had some difficulty adjusting to college life, Hillel was always there for me and truly gave me a place where I feel comfortable and free to be myself, so it feels great to have the chance to give back to the community that helped me so much,” said Amanda Gorsky, class of 2022, University of Delaware, an active member of University of Delaware Hillel. “The virtual tours are an excellent way to showcase our campus and our Hillel because we get to interact online, face-to-face, with prospective students and see their excitement grow as we share our love for Hillel. I love having the opportunity to share my story and know that I am potentially helping new students find their home!”

“I’m excited that BBYO is partnering with Hillel to provide teens like me with virtual college tours from schools across North America,” said Ian Hammer, a high school junior from Kansas City and BBYO On-Demand editor-in-chief. “Many of us planned our spring break trips around college tours which had to be canceled due to the coronavirus, so these tours will make up for lost opportunities and give us a glimpse into college life.”

 Schools participating in virtual college tours so far include: 

  • University of Alabama
  • Baruch College
  • Boston University
  • University of California Berkeley
  • University of California Santa Barbara
  • University of Chicago
  • University of Colorado Boulder
  • Columbia University and Barnard University
  • Cornell University
  • University of Delaware
  • Emory University
  • University of Florida
  • George Washington University
  • Georgia Tech University
  • Harvard University
  • Hunter College
  • University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
  • Ithaca College
  • Indiana University
  • University of Kansas
  • University of Miami
  • University of Maryland Baltimore County
  • University of Maryland College Park 
  • Michigan State University
  • Middlebury College
  • University of Minnesota
  • Northeastern University
  • Northwestern University
  • Ohio State University
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • Penn State University
  • Rutgers University
  • Stony Brook University
  • Temple University
  • University of Texas Austin
  • Texas A&M University
  • Tulane University
  • University of Virginia
  • Virginia Tech
  • University of Washington
  • Western University (Canada)

For more information about Hillel International’s online programming and Jewish learning during the global pandemic visit welcome.hillel.org/hillelathome.

About Hillel International

Founded in 1923, Hillel has been enriching the lives of Jewish students for more than 90 years. Today, Hillel International is a global organization that welcomes students of all backgrounds and fosters an enduring commitment to Jewish life, learning and Israel. Hillel is dedicated to enriching the lives of Jewish students so that they may enrich the Jewish people and the world. As the largest Jewish student organization in the world, Hillel builds connections with emerging adults at more than 550 colleges and universities and inspires them to direct their own path. During their formative college years, students are challenged to explore, experience, and create vibrant Jewish lives.

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They call me "NewsHound IV," because I'm a clever Finnegan, sniffing out stories all over the Boulder area. I love Jewish holidays because the food is GREAT, especially the brisket. Well all the food. I was a rescue pup and glad to be on the scent!

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