By Emma Arnesen
In the weeks leading up to the National College Decision Day deadline on May 1, many new faces roamed the Lawrence campus. For some prospective students, Admitted Students Day is the determining factor as to whether or not they will choose to spend their next four or five years at Lawrence.
Students are invited to stay overnight on campus on two different weekends in the spring, helping them experience college life and classes. However, the visit days fell on April 14 and 26 this year, giving prospective students little time to prepare for the fast-approaching May 1 deadline. As a recent overnight host, I can attest to how important it is to represent the Lawrence campus and student life in a positive light to future classmates.
When selecting a school where you will be living and attending classes for the next few years, it is pertinent to find out as much information as you can beforehand. This could include reading a 1,000 page “Princeton Review” college book or taking a guided campus tour. Alternatively, staying overnight with a host student is an even better way to help prospective students decide if a school is the right fit.
No books or admissions counselor will be able to tell you if a school is the one you will be comfortable attending for the next four years or not. Staying overnight allows prospective students to meet and live with current students who could even be in the same classes as them someday.
Before coming to Lawrence, visiting campus helped me learn more about the school apart from statistics from a brochure. Being able to connect with my host and learn about everything she was involved in on campus made me even more interested in Lawrence and the different opportunities it has to offer.
Ultimately, the goal of the Admitted Students Days is to represent Lawrence in the best light possible. While hosting a student, there is only a small window of time to make a great impression on the decision-making process. Time goes by fast while sharing dinner and a dorm room to sleep in, and answering questions before they are up early the next day, ready to explore classes on their own.
In my own hosting experience, helping the visiting student lay out their sleeping bag and showing them around the dorm is one of the most critical parts of their visit. While they will remember how good the desserts were at dinner and the light-up carbon molecules in Steitz Hall, staying overnight allows them to feel comfortable and experience what a typical school night in college is like.
On the first full day of the prospective student’s visit, it is essential to take them to breakfast and, if you have time, help them find where they can sign up for classes. While the food in the commons might not be as appealing to the host—especially at 7:30 a.m.—the prospective student is able to see the different meal options and organize their time to fit their class schedule.
Guiding them to where they can sign up for classes is also pertinent because chances are that morning will be the last time you see them before they go off on their own. Making sure to answer any last-minute questions and wishing them a great rest of the trip also helps to solidify a good impression on the campus and yourself.
The hosted student’s visiting experience is vital because it is ultimately the responsibility of the host to reflect Lawrence positively. One of the great things about the later visit days is that Lawrence is most likely, and hopefully, the last college visit students will be going on. With this in mind, having an awesome overnight host can leave the prospective student with a lasting impression of the Lawrence campus, further encouraging enrollment for the upcoming year.
Before the May 1 deadline, schools all over the country sent out last-minute emails and phone calls to prospective students to reel in a new class for the fall. Though each school schedules their visit days differently, the image of the campus heavily depends on the student body.
Making sure to be a good host and sharing with them why you picked Lawrence will have a positive impact on future prospective students. The overnight is just a glimpse into college life, but will help prospective students find their right fit just in time to enroll.