The Admissions Office kicked off one of its largest events of the semester thus far with their annual Admitted Student Overnight Program or Prospective Students Day on Feb. 19. Individual overnight programs began on Feb. 20 and will continue every Sunday through Wednesday evenings.
“We’ve really stepped it up in terms of the overnight programming. That’s an admissions initiative,” said Steve Kimball ’18, one of eight interns for the Admissions Office. The main focus of the interns’ work was to plan the overnight component of the event, as well as assemble material for prospective students.
The recent Prospective Students Day was targeted specifically for students accepted through Early Action or Early Decision. Approximately 150 prospective students attended the overnight program, with many others remaining on a waitlist. Chase Dining Hall was closed and Emerson Dining Hall was opened for dinner due to an expected 300 people to attend.
Given the sheer size of the prospective student attendance, host numbers were proportionally 60 people short. “That’s what we struggle with is getting people involved and willing to host. It certainly is a large time commitment so getting people to host is our priority,” said Kimball.
Due to these host numbers, some prospective students were encouraged to host more than one prospective student. Some hosts however, such as Caroline Heistand ’20, did not have the space or resources to host several students for the night. “I didn’t want to have two people because then they would have to ‘rock paper scissors’ for the floor,” she said.
Although signing up to be a prospective student host was as simple as filling out basic paperwork, the magnitude of hosts and students made the process a bit more confusing, according to Heistand. In spite of this, Admissions “did a really good job of keeping it as stream-lined as possible.”
On Feb. 19, hosts met in Mary Lyon to receive the schedule and information for Prospective Students Day before picking up their students in Chase Dining Hall. Activities like glow yoga, tie-dying shirts, Heads Up, dodgeball and Dimple Divers “display[ed] a wide variety of groups on campus” for prospective students and allows them to “get a feel for the general campus culture,” according to Kimball.
The following Monday allowed prospective students to attend classes and obtain information about Wheaton’s programs. For Heistand, these various opportunities illustrated larger themes on campus. “As a host I tried to make that clear to my guest, just saying that no matter what your routines are your preferences allow you to have something to get into,” she said.
Given the advancement and enlargement of the overnight program, Kimball believes that these initiatives are also reflected in the growing class sizes at Wheaton. “From when I was a prospective student to now, we’ve come a long way in terms of the accepted students days and really making students feel valued on this campus and that this can be their home for the next four years,” he said. “That’s a testament to the work that the Admissions Office has been doing, we’ve really stepped up our game.”