Prospective students explore campus for open house


Jordan Boyer

Prospective students and their families walk outside the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union at the open house Monday afternoon. Prospective student Katherine Hahn-Boisvert said she is interested in Eastern because of the journalism and biological science departments.

Cassie Buchman, Editor in Chief

Prospective students could be seen all around campus for Monday’s open house, exploring Eastern to see if it could be their new home.

Admissions counselor Molly Button said they had more of a turnout from prospective students this year than in the past.

At “application stations” set up in the Bridge Lounge of the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union, prospective students could apply at Eastern for free with the help of the counselors. At one point, counselors had to take three groups of students to the Gregg Technology Center so they could apply.

At various sessions, prospective students learned about financial aid, scholarships, Greek Life and took tours of buildings around Eastern.

Button said students and parents had been having similar questions about the university throughout the day.

“(They) ask a lot about admissions criteria, scholarships, financial aid, (they want to) learn more about their program or major, student life, different things to do on campus,” she said. “I think it’s great to see students who are just navigating their college search process, watching them just kind of move through it, become more comfortable with campus and community.”

Seeing the prospective students visit Eastern for the first time even reminded Button, an Eastern alumna, of an open house Button went to when she was searching for schools.

“I came in November, it was a little colder,” she said. “In my picture with Billy, I had a scarf on and it was over in Lantz (Arena).”

It was not just Admissions counselors who were around to help students out. Button said current students, faculty and staff had also been supportive at the open house.

Maria Smith, a high school senior from Rockford, said she is excited to experience something new in college.

“I like the atmosphere (of Eastern,)” Smith said. “Everyone’s really friendly, they’re always smiling.”

Smith, who plans to study biochemistry and criminology, is also looking at Benedictine College in Kansas and Franciscan University.

Paula Smith, Maria Smith’s mother, said she is nervous because her daughter will not be at home to take care of, but she is excited for her to meet new friends and take interesting classes.

Her advice for her daughter is to get involved in organizations, like she did in high school.

High school senior Bailey Booker said she liked the size of Eastern, and how everything is spread out.

Though she looks forward to being her own for the first time, Booker said she is nervous about getting lost.

Booker said her deciding factor in choosing a school is if she likes how it feels when she is there.

Her father, Kenny Booker, did not go to college himself, so he said it is fun helping his daughter search for schools.

“It’s kind of a new experiment for myself as well,” he said. “It’s good getting to go out and see different schools, see what everyone has to offer.”

As a parent, Kenny Booker’s priority is making sure his daughter is in a safe area, while still getting to have the whole “college experience.”

To him, this means “cutting loose a little bit.”

“Just a little bit, not too much,” Kenny Booker said.

Cassie Buchman can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]