College-bound students benefit from attending Open House days
They may wonder what the campus of a school they are considering is like, where they will live, what academic programs are offered, and which clubs, activities and athletic pursuits might be the best fit for them?
Then there’s the admissions and financial aid process, for which most students need a guiding hand.
The good news is that universities are prepared to answer all these questions at one event — the campus open house.
Those involved in the admissions process recommend making the most of the open house to fully prepare for the college experience.
Recently, the staff at two schools — New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) with its city campus in Newark and William Paterson University (WPU) with its suburban campus in Wayne Township — described what students can expect at an open house and why the open house is an opportunity that no student should miss.
Open houses at both schools will be on October 16 and November 20 for undergraduate and transfer students with separate dates set for the graduate student. The graduate open house is October 12 at NJIT and November 6 at WPU.
“The biggest reason why a student should attend an open house is to visit the campus and see first-hand what the college looks like; interact with the faculty, students and staff; and to basically get a first-hand account regarding the given college or university,” said Stephen Eck, the director of admissions at NJIT, where technology permeates every aspect of the campus life.
Key to the undergraduate open house will be the campus tour, as well as interaction with members of the campus community, both designed to help take the jitters out of that “first” day.
This is also the chance for those staying on campus to get a closer look at housing options. It’s an opportunity to learn more about living on campus, student activities, athletics — anything beyond the classroom,” said Eck.
But an open house doesn’t stop there, also offering an academic workshop and discussion of admissions and the financial aid process.
The open house for graduate students at NJIT has a slightly different focus. It’s structured more for working adults looking to advance or change careers, or pursue a doctorate. The priority during this event is academics.
At WPU, Michael Di Bartolomeo, director of admissions, described the open house as the “greatest opportunity to learn all about the institution from academics to the social aspect and career placement” and a “great opportunity for students to speak to faculty they will be in the classroom with in the near future.”
At academic sessions, students learn more about their academic major and hear from deans in those programs. The financial aid representatives on hand that day are “very aware of what the costs are and talk about ways to fund education at William Paterson,” said Di Bartolomeo.
The school sees the open house as so important that it is willing to waive the undergraduate application fee for any students who attend, he pointed out.
While William Paterson offers a virtual tour of the campus, Di Bartolomeo said it is not a substitute for attending the open house.
What’s unique about William Paterson, besides a campus so scenic it inspires hiking trails, WPU also stands out for its focus on civic engagement, which is built into the school’s core curriculum.
The result is a “more well-rounded student,” Di Bartolomeo said.
Students can get the most from their open house visit through preparation and familiarizing themselves with the school. Eck described NJIT as a “premier technology university located in the New York metropolitan area” with high-quality academic programs that lead to successful careers. “The return on their investment is strong and students are able to find jobs easily and are well paid,” he said, adding that more than $110 million in research is conducted at the school annually.”
Finally, students preparing to attend an open house at a college means coming with a priority list of questions they should get the answers to ranging from scholar-ships and admission requirements to extracurricular activities and living on campus.