By Dan Fenyo
Last week, I talked about taking advantage of College Fairs. This week, let’s look at one of the next big steps in the college search: Open House.
So, you and your student walked around a fair and spoke with some friendly, informative college representatives. Maybe you filled out some inquiry cards and took a few pamphlets to read at home. The next logical move is to consider visiting some campuses, of course! When it comes to visiting, what could be a better opportunity than Open House?
With the Mount’s last Open House of the season coming up on January 27th, it’s the perfect time to go over my top five reasons to attend!
There’s no substitute for personal experience!
A few weeks ago I wrote about the importance of how being on campus makes you “feel”. You can do all the research in the world before choosing where to enroll, but no amount of data can replace the essential act of physically being on campus. Furthermore, your own experience is fundamentally incontestable; I’ll happily wax poetic about our stunning view of the Hudson River, but seeing is believing after all. On the other hand, I’ve spoken with countless students who had a “dream school” in mind . . . until they visited. Often, the confirmation (or refutation) of a student’s preconceived concept of a college is linked to their visit in an indescribable way. Some of the most common phrases I hear from visiting students have a certain transcendental vagueness to them: “I just knew it was the right place” or “the ‘vibes’ were good”. Nebulousness aside, these confirmatory evaluations are really shorthand for saying “the campus was clean and the students were friendly and the view was beautiful and the wallpaper in the restroom was tasteful and the professors were approachable and the institutional infrastructure was stable and accommodating.” Of course, we can’t necessarily expect most 17-year-olds to make such specific assessments, so we’re happy to hear about the “vibes”.
Get the inside scoop from the experts!
Before you attend Open House, you’ve already done plenty of homework. I bet you can already know about our NCLEX pass rate (over 80%) and what proportion of students are hired in a relevant position within six months of graduation (95%, of course!), but there’s so much more to a college than raw data. The opportunity to go on a campus tour with one of our Student Ambassadors offers visitors personalized insight into the Mount experience. I asked Emily Gilligan, one of our ambassadors, about her favorite insider scoop she shares on tours. Emily says:
“Student activities is one of the best places on campus. Besides organizing clubs they do a bunch of activities on and off campus. They get feedback from members of the Knight community and Student Activities does whatever they can to make it happen. This past semester alone they organized two rolling skating trips, a petting zoo, and a food truck fair on campus. Student Activities also plans trips to Broadway shows, sporting events, and shopping outlets. This semester they are taking a trip to see Mean Girls on broadways for only $30! That’s just unheard of!”
Every ambassador has their own wealth of knowledge waiting to be tapped. When you’re on a tour, make sure you ask about their favorite spots on campus, the professors they recommend, and all the other secret tips you won’t find in a pamphlet!
Meet the Mount Community: Past, present, and future!
By enrolling at a college, you’re joining a family of current student and Alumni to create a lasting Mount legacy. At Open House, you’ll meet some of the individuals who make Mount Saint Mary College such a special place. Our family isn’t just students either; from the first steps you and your child take on campus, you’re a part of an ever-growing population of students, parents, brothers, sisters, and friends who are all #LovinTheKnightLife! Take the time to meet our alumni and hear what being a Knight means to them.
Our current students and alumni may make up the foundation of our community, but you and your student are the future of the Mount. At Open House, the friendships you make could last for the next four years, or maybe a lifetime.
Try the food!
Ok, this one might seem a little silly, but hear me out! I’m not here to convince you that our campus dining hall is going to outdo your cherished family recipes. The point is, college is, for many students, the first appreciable period of time spent away from the comforts of home. In order to ameliorate that transition, be mindful of the creature comforts available to students on campus. Dining options are just one of several amenities you’ll have the opportunity to explore at Open House. During a campus tour, try to think of all the conveniences available to your child at home. Will they have access to those same conveniences at school? Living spaces, common areas, washer/dryer availability, on- and off-campus transportation options, health services, and security are all aspects of living on a college campus that one should keep in mind during a visit. For your child, school will be a home-away-from-home for four years; before they leave the nest, be certain they’ll be safe, happy, and well-fed!
Start building your network!
Is success really all about who you know? Well, probably not. Hard work and dedication are still the best way to get ahead in a collegiate environment, but having connections to your campus can be an additional advantage. By attending Open House, you and your student can meet their future professors and begin to open lines of communication for the future. By establishing early relationships with scholars around campus, your child may be setting themselves up for future opportunities like exclusive study abroad programs, research opportunities, and internships. For students who are still in the application process, Open House is also an excellent occasion to meet with their Admissions Counselor (hey, that might be me!), a Financial Aid Counselor, an Academic Advisor, Athletic Recruiter, or a HEOP Representative. Establishing a connection to staff members like me is an excellent way to help us better serve you through every step your child’s college journey.
Have you been to a college Open House yet? Why not check out the Mount on Sunday, January 27th?
Make sure you say hello if you see me!
Daniel Fenyo has been an admissions counselor at the Mount since September 2018. A lifelong Hudson Valley resident, he enjoys reading, writing, and all things nerdy in his free time.
Find out more about becoming part of the Knight Life at Mount Saint Mary College by visiting our Admissions site!