Prospective students meet and eat to talk about their futures at New College.
On Saturday, Mar. 3 College Hall was packed with faculty, staff, alumni, current and newly admitted students and their families for the Prospective Student Pizza Party. The event was organized by the admissions office in order for new students to learn more about New College’s community and academic program. The party gave students the opportunity to figure out whether New College was the right school for their educational goals and needs.
Potential students were able to meet with one another, along with current students, faculty, and staff in order to understand different aspects of the school from different viewpoints.
“I thought it would be really cool to meet prospective students and introduce myself as a representation of what a current student is like,” first-year Delaney Verger said.
Pizza, soda, cookies and coffee were all served and tables were set up for attendees to sit and discuss the school together in a casual and comfortable atmosphere.
“I had attended an event for admitted students during the summer of 2010 and found it a really rewarding experience. I enjoyed talking with students and their families and getting to know about their interests and motivations,” Professor of French Literature and Language, Jocelyn Van Tuyl said. “It’s also kind of fun to play ‘matchmaker’: if a prospective student is interested in, say, Political Science, I scan the room and try and introduce them to a faculty member in that field.”
Because New College is such a small community, about 800 students, social events with a large sample of individuals who make up the school’s community can gather and get to know one another.
“I think these events set the tone for the way New College works,” Van Tuyl stated. “ Everything here is about personal connections–knowing that your professors really want to talk with you and help you, knowing that you have to build the kind of working relationship with professors that may lead to your working together on a tutorial, ISP, or, eventually, the thesis.”
Teachers, current students and faculty walked around from table to table and introduced themselves to the new students. This gave prospective students and their families a chance to ask any questions they may have had about the school and to get to know individuals from New College’s community.
“I was admitted and I really wanted the chance to find out more about the school,” prospective student David Wolfson stated. “And after coming here, I was able to experience [New College’s] friendly and relaxed atmosphere.”
Jessica Thompson, a prospective student from Orlando, has been considering going to an out-of-state university.
“I just wanted to get a better feel for what the student body is like,” Thompson explained. “Everyone here is pretty welcoming and, after coming here, I think New College is my top choice if I stay in Florida.”
With the educational budget cuts that are affecting schools around the country, the need for more incoming students is as high as ever. The pizza party may have been the deciding factor for students on whether they want to attend New College next fall, therefore, it was crucial that the event go as smoothly as possible.
“I think [the event] turned out well. We went through 45 pizzas, which was more than yesterdays event and 225 students and parents attended,” Director of Enrollment, Mitch Finer said. “[These events] are a lot of work, but there are many dedicated people working together to make these events as successful as possible.”
Finer and his team from the Admissions Office organized the event to help generate interest for New College as a viable college option.
For the party to be a success, students from all phases of the academic process were invited to come and share their college experiences.
Angelica Alexander, a second year transfer student, just began studying at New College this semester.
“I wanted to talk to new students and see what they are like,” she said.
Because she has only been here for a few months, Alexander was more able to relate and understand what the potential students may be feeling.
As the sun went down, attendees went outside to view the sunset, talk and play hacky sack with current students. Though the Prospective Student Pizza Party only lasted a few hours, the new students were able to assess what they really wanted out of their college education.
“When I was visiting colleges, I felt much more connected to the schools where I’d been able to talk with a professor and maybe attend a class,” Van Tuyl reminisced. “Those opportunities definitely influenced my decisions about where to apply and, ultimately, which college to attend. I realize that those visits took place 30 years ago, but my memories of them are still vivid.”