On Oct. 1-3, between 160-170 high schoolers came to preview Covenant College this past Campus Preview Weekend—a lower attendance than previous years.
Despite the lower turnout, Director of Admissions Scott Schindler still seemed confident because of the unusually high number of seniors.
“We have 114 seniors and 48 juniors. On average, about 27-40% of the seniors who preview end up enrolling at Covenant,” Schindler said.
Because Covenant’s 2015-2016 freshmen and transfer enrollment experienced a 5% drop, the Admissions office has been focusing on creating more strategic relationships with high school seniors. The seniors who attended this year’s campus preview weekend may be the fruit of these efforts.
The goal of CPW is to give prospective students a glimpse of what a typical year is like at Covenant. Although many previewers come with their families, the Admissions office encourages them to spend the night in the dorms to get a better feel of the campus experience. In preparation, the Admissions office sends out housing requests to to all the halls on campus, to see if there are current students who are interested in housing previewers.
During CPW, previewers are invited to go to Mountain Affair, attend a theater production, watch a film with the campus community, and visit classes. Covenant also hosts an Academic Open House, where students can talk to professors of their areas of interest, and prospective athletes can attend meetings with coaches throughout the weekend.
“We are always trying to give our students a bigger view of campus over two days,” Schindler explained.
Schindler and his team find professors willing to represent their departments at the Academic Open House.
“For an hour and a half, prospective students and their parents get to at least see and interact with several different departments at the same time,” Schindler said. “If they couldn’t make it to a class that they wanted to visit from earlier that day, they’ll have a chance to see that faculty member or that department later on.”
Of course, it doesn’t always go off without a hitch. In Spring 2013, H1N1 broke out on campus and CPW was nearly canceled; however, the Admissions staff was able to navigate the crisis.
Schindler credits the continued success of CPW to the students and staff who make it possible. “We have a fantastic student employee force: our student admissions representatives spend hours calling and emailing prospective students to see if they want to attend CPW. Our grounds crew, facilities crew, and events crew spend countless hours ensuring that the weekend goes off without any issues. So it’s not just Admissions that plays a part in planning this weekend. It’s really a campus-wide effort.”
In the spirit of showing the crazier aspects of Covenant life, after Friday chapel The Catacombs performs a skit on the lawn every Preview Weekend. This year, the skit featured the appearance of the Pope and Voldemort.
“We’re always looking forward to what halls might produce outfit wise, or what craziness might occur on the chapel lawn,” Schindler said. “Our student body takes this weekend as an opportunity to showcase who we are as community and that comes with all its own quirks and idiosyncrasies. And I love that.”