Around 11 a.m. on Tuesday, some 200 prospective Colgate students began to fill Reid Athletic Center to register for what was to be the first of two April Visit Days. The Office of Admissions organizes these on-campus visit programs in a final effort to persuade admitted students to join the Colgate Class of 2011.
In the afternoon, the visitors attended various sessions presenting information on the different dimensions of Colgate life, including off-campus study programs, Career Services, first-year housing options, multiculturalism on campus and arts and humanities opportunities beyond the classroom.
At 5:30 p.m., parents went to a reception at the Merrill House with administrators and faculty, while the “prospies” met with their student hosts for an evening of entertainment, complete with an a capella and dance concert.
The night was organized to provide an opportunity for the visitors to meet one another, spend a night in a residence hall and experience the life of a Colgate student first-hand.
Prospective student Briana Gochenour of Sudbury, Massachusetts came to campus for what was her third college overnight.
“I think these visit days help you realize what you’re actually going to deal with,” she said. “You’re not just getting the facts; you’re getting an experience.”
She also noted, however, that colleges have the tendency to over-sell themselves to their potential undergraduates.
“It was obvious that Colgate did extra special things for us,” Gochenour said. “When students are sneaking into the catered dinner, that tells you something about campus food.”
For all the resources invested in making April Visit Days successful, the obvious question remains: how effective are they?
“Typically, 65-70 percent of the visitors choose to come to Colgate,” estimated Director of Admissions Gary Ross, though he added that there were no available statistics from the previous years to indicate the ratio of visitors accepted early decision to visitors accepted regular decision.
First-year Sarah Finn explained that she chose to be an April Visit Days host because her stay last year was what convinced her to enroll at Colgate.
“I really wanted to show off Colgate, and all it has to offer,” she said.
Prospective student Melanie Marecki of Morris, Connecticut also felt that her stay was crucial to her decision between Colgate, Boston University, Cornell University and the University of Pennsylvania.
“I definitely feel like it gave me an idea of this community and how everything works,” she said. “My host introduced me to all her friends, and I got to meet some of the different kinds of people here. It was very helpful.”
First-year Regan Corr hosted Stephanie Singer and Mary Liz Bray, two prospective students from her hometown of Buffalo, New York who were accepted through regular and early decision, respectively.
“I chose to be an April Visit Days host because I love this school,” Corr said. “I wanted to show them how great it is.”
She also noted, however, that perhaps the overnight didn’t give her visitors a well-rounded impression of Colgate.
“I wish they could have gone to more classes and experienced the social life. It would have been better if they had come for a weekday and a weekend to see Colgate’s academic side, but also its social side,” Corr said.
Next week, the campus will again host a group larger than Tuesday’s estimated 200 for the second April Visit Days installment, wrapping up what has been described as Colgate’s most competitive year for admissions.