By Monica Chapman
Undergraduate Admissions will host the first of this year's five OHIO Up Close sessions this Friday for high school seniors still in the process of making their college decision.
The one-day sessions -- also slated for Feb 27, March 13, April 3 and 24 -- give admitted students and their families an opportunity to familiarize themselves with many aspects of student life on the Athens campus, including academics, residence hall life and campus organizations.
Some 1,400 students and their family members are expected to attend OHIO Up Close over the course of the five sessions. The visit days are scheduled in late winter and early spring, the traditional yield period during which students who have been offered admission to the university typically make a decision on whether to enroll.
"A large percentage of these students are still gathering information and seeing where their best fit is," said Senior Associate Director of Admissions Kevin Witham, who oversees campus visit programs. "Hopefully, we'll be able to show them that the right fit might be Ohio University."
Witham said there is traditionally a strong link between an admitted student's participation in OHIO Up Close and their decision to enroll. Last year, 80 percent of attendees submitted a housing deposit, which confirms a student's intent to enroll.
"Our research shows that if we can get students to visit the campus, typically the chance of them enrolling is much greater," Witham said.
The OHIO Up Close experience features campus tours, a resource fair, a Q&A on life at Ohio University and a "What's next?" overview session, which covers academics, learning communities and steps to enrollment and gives participants a chance to hear from current students.
Witham said the colleges have expanded their academic sessions, based on student feedback from previous OHIO Up Close programs. During these sessions, participants visit with students and faculty in their prospective schools and departments to learn about the programs, facilities, operations and opportunities.
"The colleges have been very much on board in adding to their academic presentations," Witham said. "They have been good partners in expanding that academic time to share with our admitted students."
Witham said OHIO Up Close attempts to personalize the experience as much as possible by catering to the interests and backgrounds of its participants.
Upon registering, participants from outside Ohio are invited to meet with members of the out-of-state student ambassador organization over lunch. Children of Ohio University alumni can attend a legacy lunch at the Konneker Alumni Center, courtesy of the Ohio University Alumni Association and Undergraduate Admissions. For multicultural high school seniors unable to attend Undergraduate Admissions' Cultural Connections Program on April 18-19, the final two OHIO Up Close programs will include a Multicultural Student Perspective component, which features a Q&A session and lunch with current multicultural students and staff.
"Some of these families have visited previously. For others, this is their first visit," Witham said. "We want to offer all of them an in-depth experience to help them see Ohio University as an option for their college home."
Any high school senior who has already been admitted to Ohio University for the 2009-10 academic year is welcome to register for OHIO Up Close. Reservations are provided on a first-come, first-served basis. Students who are unable to attend one of the OHIO Up Close days are encouraged to schedule a campus visit during the university's regular visitation schedule.