Eastern focuses on high school students


Chynna Miller

Prospective student Kearsten Switzer, of Wilmington, Ill., takes a tour of Eastern‚ campus Monday during Preview Day outside of Stevenson Hall. Switzer is a senior at Wilmington High School and attended the tour with her dad and step mom.

Luis Martinez, Administration Editor

High school juniors visited Eastern in a program “Preview EIU.”

The program was created to show high school juniors a college experience before applying to college in the fall.

Chris Dearth, Eastern’s admission director, said the event occurs around the same time as high school students go on spring break.

“Every year at a certain point we have to start focusing on the next year’s class,” Dearth said. “What we’ve noticed in previous years, the time in the spring when we get a lot of visitors usually falls in line with high school spring break.”

Dearth also said the university sees a large number of visitors, and decided to have a more detailed program than a regular visit.

“We added a couple of things for those students that come for ‘Preview EIU,’” Dearth said.

Blair Lord, vice president of academic affairs, said the program is a way Eastern is trying to boost its enrollment.

“It’s a tactic that virtually all our competitors institution are doing,” Lord said. “If you go back many years ago, college search and application time was basically focus on the senior year in high school, but increasingly students and their families are starting to think about college well before the senior year.”

Lord also said the result of students looking at college during their senior year means Eastern has to put their information out there sooner.

“It means that we have to talk to them when they are juniors,” Lord said. “Otherwise we miss the boat. It’s simply a recognition (in) behaviors are changing, both in terms of students and their families looking at college and in terms of what our competitors are doing.”

During “Preview EIU,” the students are placed in smaller tour groups to have a more personal interaction, and they also attend a panel where they get to hear from a faculty member, someone from financial aid, and someone from housing and dining. The purpose of the panel is to answer any questions the students might have during the tour.

 Brianna Johnson, a sophomore family and consumer sciences major, leads a tour for the Preview Day Monday in Buzzard Hall.
Chynna Miller
Brianna Johnson, a sophomore family and consumer sciences major, leads a tour for the Preview Day Monday in Buzzard Hall.

Zachary Samples, coordinator of “Preview EIU,” said this is the third year Eastern has done this program.

“This is our third year of Preview EIU and basically it is designed for high school juniors,” Samples said. “Any prospective student is more than welcome to come to these events, but we primarily tailor it towards high school juniors.”

Samples said the reason behind the program is because Eastern wants to create a relationship with the students so by the time they are seniors; they are familiar with Eastern and its process.

“Since this is our third year, I think that we have most of the kinks worked out,” Samples said. “We have made the tours smaller, we have made the schedule more accommodating in terms of the needs of the perspective students. We’ve made sure that our panels are full of the best and brightest faculty, staff and students and we’ve really just ensured that the visit experience that they had here is the best that it can be.”


Luis Martinez can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].