Spring Open Campus 2005 will feature many changes from open campuses of past years in order to allow accepted high school seniors the chance to experience the true life of a UR student.

“There are tons of choices at UR,” Assistant Director of Admissions Joe Lanning said. “People aren’t telling students what to do. We wanted to make SOC the same way to make it more like a real student experience.”

In previous years, SOC was held on six random days throughout April.

Students attended panel discussions as a primary way to get to know and better understand the school.

This year, SOC is taking place from April 4 to 20 and panel discussions have been eliminated. “We want students to choose to come to UR for the same reasons students attending the school like it – because of the choice that we give them,” Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Jonathan Burdick said. “Eighty-two percent of students said that they chose the school because of the curriculum [which allows students to design their own schedule].”

A Web site has been designed for prospective students to access and design a schedule for their visiting day. They can choose to go on any of the tours, visit various departments and offices and attend both academic and diversity fairs.

“A good theme for this SOC is ‘more show than tell,'” Burdick said. “It is important for prospective students to see what attending UR is all about, not just for us to tell them about it.” At night, they can choose to be hosted by a current student.

“We are trying to pair up two students with each host so that the visiting student will have someone else to relate to,” Lanning said. “When students are spending time with other students, it makes it less official and they feel more comfortable.”

This year the Multi-Cultural Visitation Program will occur ontwo Saturdays.

“This year, MVP will include far away students as well as those with unusual majors, political views and religious ideals,” Burdick said. “We will host those students on a Friday night and invite them to look at the diversity on our campus.”

Lanning designed the program last fall with the idea of putting the perspective students in control of their own experience.

“[Lanning brought the idea to me] and I knew it would work,” Burdick said. “It shows students that this is a school where everyone can be themselves.”

The Meridian Society will help lead SOC. The Meridians will be stationed around campus throughout the program wearing bright yellow shirts and helping to direct traffic and answer any questions that may arise.

“A lot of training has been done with the Meridians so that they are more autonomous and can really support the perspective students and their families,” Lanning said.

A consultant was brought in from the University of Southern California to hold sessions with the Meridian Society in preparation for SOC.

“The training sessions really helped all of the Meridians, but especially the new Meridians,” Meridian and junior Iman Criner said. “I think the SOC is going to be very successful because now the Meridians aren’t just giving tours, but we really know a lot about the school and can help the students understand UR better.”

Paret can be reached at eparet@campustimes.org.



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