‘Going Back to Your High School Day’ Received Positively on Campus
Sophomore Adrianna Dunn and first-year student Teri Davis visited Hannibal High School and presented in front of about 50 students. PHOTO COURTESY OF ANNA MARTIN.
BY ROBERTA BURNS
Eight students participated in the initiative to send current students back to their high schools on April 7 to share their Westminster stories. Westminster President Dr. Benjamin Akande launched this program in hopes of bolstering enrollment.
Students who were interested in visiting their high schools signed up online and attended two briefings about expectations and logistics. They also received a PowerPoint presentation to share with anyone who attended the sessions they held. The PowerPoint, which is also used by the college’s admission’s department, contains an overview of Westminster along with information about students, academic resources, rankings, programs of study, signature programs, academic societies, study abroad, Greek life, career development, clubs and organizations and Fulton attractions.
On April 6, there were 12 students ready to complete visits the next day. However, only eight students went through with the presentations.
Still, the students who did participate in the initiative said they were eager to share their Westminster experiences with students at their high school alma maters. In addition, at the town hall meeting where he announced Going Back to Your High School Day, Akande said, “If we get five students to sign up and go, we’ve won.”
The idea outlined by Akande resonated with students across campus.
Sophomore Riley Zack said he wanted to help Westminster recruit people.
“I have really enjoyed my time here, and I would like other people from my hometown to have that incredible Westminster experience as well,” he said.
“I have really enjoyed my time here, and I would like other people from my hometown to have that incredible Westminster experience as well.” –Riley Zack, ’19
Alec Bise, ’18, said he was interested in not only giving back to the school, but also going back to his high school to reminisce. He went to Jefferson City High School on April 7 and to Helias High School on April 13.
“We did really well and met a lot of prospective students,” Bise said. “It’s definitely something people should take advantage of.”
For some, the system that was used to have high school students sign up to listen to the sessions was not effective.
Zack said, “Unfortunately, no students signed up due to poor communication on the details of the event.” Nonetheless, he said he “would still be interested in doing this again” and that Westminster prepared him well for the visit.
Sophomore Adrianna Dunn, from Hannibal High School, said that was excited to share logistics and tips from a student perspective that she felt she had missed during her college selection experience. Dunn cited the experience as a way to give back to the institution that has invested so much in her undergraduate education.
Dunn cited the experience as a way to give back to the institution that has invested so much in her undergraduate education.
Teri Davis, ’20, jumped right into the program and partnered with Dunn to visit Hannibal. They presented to approximately 50 students at their former high school and passed out numerous packets and business cards.
Junior Kaely Fitterling said that being a graduate of the high school she visited allowed her more contact with the students.
“There’s a rule at my school about college recruiters not being allowed in the cafeteria,” Fitterling said. “Since I used to go there, it wasn’t as big of a deal for me to go in and actually talk to people, even though I was out of the area I was supposed to be in.”
In areas for improvement, many students said that the April 7 date made it difficult for them to get back to their schools.
Many students said that the April 7 date made it difficult for them to get back to their schools.
Senior Jeremy Hill was intrigued by the opportunity to not only talk about Westminster, but also to grow as a speaker and leader. Due to scheduling conflicts, he was unable to attend, but was in full support of this program.
Lydia Creech, ’19, wanted to share her love of Westminster and help recruit students to participate in the new opportunities the college is offering, but also had prior commitments for the day that was selected.
“There are a ton of lacrosse athletes at my school who are looking into attending a smaller college where they can continue to play and not pay more to go to an out-of-state college,” she said.
Akande said that this type of activity is one of the most effective and genuine ways to recruit and inform prospective students.
“This spring was our beta test, and so we hope to build on lessons learned and feedback and do it again next fall,” he said.
“This spring was our beta test, and so we hope to build on lessons learned and feedback and do it again next fall.” –Akande on Going Back to Your High School Day
Students said that with a few tweaks, they will be able to participate more and truly turn this program into a pipeline to Westminster from high schools across the country. Students who are at all interested in sharing their unique college experiences should keep an eye out for an announcement of the next opportunity to do so.