By Abbey Randall, Staff Writer
This spring semester, high school seniors are searching for the right college to match their academic needs for fall of 2013. The University of Maine at Farmington (UMF) encourages accepted students to visit campus and experience life as a college student for a day; including a class session, a tour, lunch in the dining hall, and a question and answer session with current UMF students.
Accepted Student Days (ASDs) are “a really good recruitment event,” said Robert Pederson, Director of Franklin Academic Success Center. ASDs allow students to see if college is a good fit for them and if they like the community at UMF. A high percentage of students who attend ASDs in the spring are likely to attend UMF the following school year.
Lisa Ellrich works in the admissions office at UMF and her role for ASDs is to coordinate and organize the entire process; which she starts in November, allowing her to be well prepared for the spring semester. “This gives me time to work a week ahead on the confirmations and notices which is really important since there are about fifty ASDs in the spring semester,” said Ellrich in a recent email interview.
Students are encouraged to ask questions and learn about what UMF has to offer. They are given an opportunity to explore the campus, experience college dining services, as well as meet new people and other accepted students.
“If we can get them to come, then they will come in September,” said Lori Soucie, Program Coordinator at Center for Student Development in Franklin Hall. Pederson and Soucie, among many other faculty and staff at UMF meet with parents on ASDs to go over what programs are available for the students and any further questions the parents may have.
Students are able to attend a college class and participate in discussions and activities. On ASDs accepted students are able to experience college as a student, instead of a high school student and get familiar with UMF, as well as the campus.
“I like sitting in a classroom and seeing how it is all put together,” said Amber Hanson, a high school student who attended accepted student day on February 26, 2013. Hanson is not from Maine and she is trying to get used to the small campus and class sizes. ASDs help students from afar visit UMF and the Farmington area to get acquainted with the campus and community.
What is well-liked about the accepted student days at UMF is that the groups are very specific to the majors they want to pursue in college and small enough so students feel comfortable. “Most schools organize their accepted student days as large events and we feel it makes it difficult to sometimes ask questions or make connections,” said Ellrich.
Throughout their day at UMF, accepted students are also able to meet with current UMF students to ask questions and learn more about the campus life. Instead of going to a large orientation and meeting mostly staff and faculty at a university, accepted students are able to relate to current UMF students on their likes and dislikes.
“It’s not scripted at all and the students are given the chance to take it where they want to,” said Pederson. During these sessions, current UMF students are able to share with accepted students their experiences and give advice about being a college student. Most students are worried about what the food is like in the dining hall and what the dormitories look like.
Ellrich is very grateful for her student workers at admissions and the entire community at UMF. “I [could] not pull together the ASDs without my student workers, but the office of admission wouldn’t be as successful with these days without the support of the entire campus community who help out in so many ways,” said Ellrich.