Finding the right fit


High school juniors from across the state and the country will be converging on campus tomorrow to participate in Junior Visit Day. The event usually draws around 170 students plus their parents and guests. Simpson College has been hosting the event for 12 years.Alison Swanson, director of admissions programs, said it attracts students who may be hesitant to come on their own.

“For their first college visit, some students prefer to visit on a big group day, so this is a perfect opportunity for them to do that,” she said.

The visit day is meant to introduce students to the campus, but also to give those students a head start on their college search.

“We try to build it a little bit more about Simpson, but also promoting the college search process,” Swanson said.

The visit day is often the first opportunity for high school juniors to start thinking about college visits and learning what questions to ask.

“I think it’s a really good opportunity especially for juniors in high school who don’t really know what they’re looking for or what college they want to go to or what major they want to go into,” freshman Tiana Wheeler said. She attended the event when she was in high school.

“For many students, Junior Visit Day is a great way to kick-start their college search,” Admissions Counselor Sara Cowden said. “This is just the beginning of many contacts they’ll have with Simpson as they make their college decision.”

Cowden, along with nine other admissions counselors will be introducing themselves to potential Simpson students at the end of the students’ busy day. The day starts at 9:30 a.m. and will include an activity fair, a tour, academic sessions and student panels, among other activities.

“The Junior Visit Day really gave me more information on Simpson and it really influenced my decision,” Wheeler said.

Although this is an exciting event for potential students and members of the Simpson community, Swanson said that individual visits are also a real point of pride for Simpson. Junior Visit Day encourages students to come back for another visit.

“Most students who come to Junior Visit Day will return to campus at least one more time their senior year for an individual tour, to sit in on a class or even stay overnight,” Cowden said.

Junior Visit Day is open to students from all across the country. The college invites all juniors by way of e-mails, postcards, brochures and posters.

“We do a press release inviting everybody to come check out Simpson for the day,” Swanson said.

Wheeler said Junior Visit Day played a huge role in getting her to think about what college she’d like to attend.

“I really think that every college should provide it because it really gives you an insight, as a high schooler, into colleges and what they offer, at an early age,” Wheeler said.

Junior Visit Day is an exciting event for all of admissions. “I love it,” Swanson said. “It’s probably my favorite event that I plan. I think a lot of that is just because it’s big so I think that creates its own enthusiasm and there are just so many people involved. It’s truly a community event that makes it happen.”