Prospective high school students have plenty of opportunities to experience Simpson in February. Throughout this month, the Office of Admissions is hosting Friday visit days that are flexible to student schedules. Events including George Washington Carver Visit Day, an open house in Nebraska, the Theater Scholarship Weekend, Music Weekend and Art Portfolio Day are among events planned for prospective students.
“We try to give students as many opportunities to visit campus as possible, so it seems we have an ever expanding line-up of events they can come to,” Beth Peck, assistant director of admissions, said.
Peck said February is a good time for campus visit days because not many students have officially decided where they are going to go to college.
“By having [visit days] in February, you would be surprised how many students are still undecided about where they are going to go to college,” Peck said. “A lot of students don’t decide until March or certainly after so February is still a good time to get seniors back on campus one more time.”
Peck said one of the biggest challenges in admissions is merely getting the students on campus.
“One of the big things in this job is we always just say ‘if we can just get them on campus, there’s a good chance that they will come here’,” Peck said. “The big hurdle right there is getting them on campus so the more avenues we can provide for them to do that, the more likely we are for them to come here.”
The George Washington Carver Visit Day was held on Feb. 7. Peck said this visit day is one not run exclusively by admissions but rather is a collaborative effort with faculty members.
“It’s directed mainly at minority students in central Iowa and the Des Moines area,” Peck said. “The overlying goal of that event is to get them on a college campus and let them know that there are really great options out there for them.”
Peck also said Simpson is conducting a lot of open houses in many different cities.
“We are doing [an open house] in Omaha, Nebraska coming up in February,” Peck said. “Basically that means that we try to take a little snapshot of Simpson to them and we usually do this in six to eight cities throughout the country each year.”
Peck said the Winter Visit Day is new this year and correlates with the Fall Visit Day this past fall semester.
“Basically it is a Saturday visit day and we will get a lot of students here with their parents,” Peck said. “So it has a much more group-visit atmosphere and not as much individual attention. We always try to give students a lot of options. Some students really want that personal attention where they sit one-on-one with an adviser and a professor, sit in on a class, and have a one-on-one tour. Some students really want that anonymity of going in a group tour.”
Junior Erin Hoversten, works as a student ambassador, and says group tours are great for students to simply get a feel of the college and puts students more at ease because there are other students like them attending the same day.
“Visit days are great for students who are trying to get their foot in the door,” Hoversten said. “Then, they can go from there and schedule an individual visit later on to discuss more personal things. I think it is also comforting for high school students to be in large groups of people their age when visiting a college campus. It lets them know that other people like them are looking here too.”
Junior Brenna Abel, also a student ambassador, said seeing a specific department at Simpson really does impact the perception of Simpson.
“This is another important part of visiting a college because students realize how personal Simpson really is,” Abel said. “They get to meet our professors and get that feeling that they really do care about each and every one of their students. It’s also important because they will most likely spend a large majority of their time with that department and they need to get a feel for it and see if they could see themselves as a part of it.”
Ann Woldt, assistant professor of theatre, said the biggest benefit for students who attend specific visit weekends is that students get a chance to really experience Simpson life.
“I feel [the biggest benefit] is the intense immersion into the life of the department and of Simpson College,” Woldt said. “The students get not only a feel of our department, but by staying overnight with a theatre student they get the feel of the entire Simpson campus and community.”