Prospies weigh decision at visit

Michelle Ma

Prospective students are easy to spot. They lug oversized bags, buy Northwestern t-shirts and follow tour guides in packs.

As the May 1 deadline approaches for high school seniors to choose a university, these “prospies” are beginning to crowd the campus.

Preview NU — a program to introduce admitted students to Northwestern — drew more than 250 admitted high school seniors Monday to Norris University Center for the first session. Two of the three Preview NU sessions will be held this week and one next week. These sessions provide campus tours, school information sessions and overnights in residential buildings.

Attending a Preview NU session can be vital to a student’s choice to enroll at NU, said Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Carol Lunkenheimer.

“This is really important because all of these students have (other) options,” she said.

Lunkenheimer added students who attend a preview session will likely choose NU.

“I know now I’m going to go here,” said Carlos Rodriguez, a prospective student visiting from Miami.

Talking to students and walking around campus helped confirm his decision, Rodriguez said.

Prospective student Khadijat Gbenro of Chicago said she thought Preview NU was a good opportunity to see the school.

“I like it,” said Gbenro, who favors NU for the flexibility to take classes within different schools. But, she added, “There should be more interaction with the (current) students.”

All three Preview NU sessions have full enrollment capped at 225 students, said Janet Olivo, assistant director for undergraduate admissions. The university must set a maximum number for each session because ordered food and housing is limited, she said. Program space is also limited to “keep programs smaller and more intimate,” Olivo said.

Even if prospective students couldn’t register for a session because it reached capacity, interested students can attend all of the programs except a university-organized overnight stay, said Lauren Williamson, another assistant director for undergraduate admissions. She added that prospective students could also make their own arrangements to stay overnight with a friend at NU.

There is more student participation this year in the Student Involvement Fairs, which allow NU organizations to teach prospective students about clubs, sports and activities, said Jason Ross, director of the Student Admissions Council and a Communication senior.

In addition, a greater number of students have volunteered to help with the Preview NU programs, Ross said.

“Due to interest we’ve drummed up in the fall, we’ve gotten a much higher number of student volunteers,” he said.

On each day of Preview NU, more than 35 student volunteers are available to act as tour guides and panel participants, among other things, he said.

After students met their hosts in the evening, they could attend an evening show and ice cream social in Norris. Some residences organized events for prospies and their hosts, including midnight frisbee games and munchies.

Reach Michelle Ma at [email protected]