Aiding transition into college

Kate Erikson

Admitted student preview assuages anxiety, fear of incoming students

You walk into a room and you know no one — not one single person. This is your future college campus and its exciting to start over, but you also have to start over. Are you just supposed to walk up to someone and ask to be their friend?

This was the thought that lived in many of the minds of the high schoolers as they arrived at Seattle Pacific University to attend last week’s Admitted Student Preview.

Every year, the admissions office devotes great amounts of time and energy to put on admitted students preview, but no matter what they do they cannot take away from the awkwardness that is being 17. However, the ambassadors — SPU students — help this awkwardness fade.

“This year was great because so many of our current student ambassadors were involved and it’s so fun watching them connect with prospective students and their families,” junior and Admissions Office Intern Carly Strayer said.

This year, on April 4-5 and April 11-12, admitted students came to SPU to see if it is the right fit for them. The students stayed the night in a dorm, visited classes, toured the campus and were given free time at night to go to activities provided on campus or socialize on their own.

Although to the students this event seemed like a vacation, there was a great deal of planning that went into the weekends to make them successful.

“Admitted Student Preview is the most intense event of the year to plan, but always so exciting when the students and their families arrive,” Strayer said. “My favorite part is hearing from students that coming to campus helped solidify their decision to commit and watching them make friends and find their future roommates.”

While most of the year they can be found leading tours or scooping ice cream at hall socials, the Admitted Student Preview night is the most pivotal for ambassadors.

Each ambassador has their own reason for why they chose this job over another campus job.

“A big reason why I wanted to get involved with Admitted Student Preview  is because this was the event that made me commit to SPU. I wanted to help a preview student with their college decision process,” said current first-year and SPU ambassador Kiana Williamson. “I was able to meet a lot of amazing students that are so bright and curious; It was so wonderful to be a part of their experience attending ASP and I hope I’ll see them in the fall.”

Admitted students started their day by touring SPU, meeting with their counselors and mingling with other previewer and current students.

Then the mass of high schoolers piled onto buses.

They were taken on a boat ride, which circles scenic Elliot Bay, or to play unlimited games at Gameworks in downtown Seattle. This created a space where students could meet each other and create relationships that may last for years.

“Admitted Student Preview helped me choose SPU — it not only gave me a glimpse of what the school was like, but also the people who attended,” first-year Kilee Jones said. “During my preview experience I met a lot of great people that I am still friends with today, I did not expect to leave those two days with friends that I have had for over a year now.”

Some attendees came to SPU under the impression that they were not going to end up here in the fall. If it was due to financial issues, size or religious affiliation, SPU does not initially capture the hearts of all that are admitted.

“My experience at Seattle Pacific University Admitted Student Preview influenced my decision to commit,” high school senior Chariya Son said. “I was skeptical about going to a Christian school as I am Buddhist, but after my visit it was clear that I can still be myself regardless of the school’s religious affiliation.”

Without a doubt, transitioning into college is scary.

On the one hand, you have a fresh slate where you can make yourself whoever you want to be, but on the other hand, you have to show others who that person is.

Coming to a place where you know no one and have to start over is intimidating, but Admitted Student Preview makes this daunting task seem a little bit more manageable.

“I met my roommate at Admitted Student Preview; before I met people throughout those two days, I genuinely thought my only friend would be my best friend from high school who was also going to SPU,” said first-year Carolina Chirinos.

“Going helped me come out of my shell, it can be hard making friends when you first get to school and if I didn’t go to Admitted Student Preview, I would have never met some of my best friends.”