Remember the jitters of pure excitement stepping on a college campus for the first time during Preview Days, and that moment when you made the decision to become a Unionite? You have a chance to be a part of the experience as a Union representative for Preview Days visitors, January 26-29.
Preview Days is held five times per school year, and the weekend provides an opportunity for visitors to attend classes, meet with staff and faculty and immerse themselves in the Union College atmosphere. In fact, the program as we know it began in 2010 and has given visitors the chance to be a Union student for a couple days.
Rachel Boyd, Union College visit coordinator, is passionate about the Preview Days program. “I think Preview Days gives the most realistic look at what Union has to offer potential students. It really gets them connected with the three things we value here at Union: spiritual life, social life, and our academics.”
When Armando Jimenez, freshman health and human performance major, first came for a visit he liked what he saw. “When I first got here for Preview Days what made a really good impression on me is the way the deans and Rachel [Boyd] spoke with me. They treated me like an adult, whereas other schools I visited treated me like a child. ... I love it and I honestly don’t regret it. I was initially coming to Preview Days by myself but I ended up bringing, like, ten other people with me. And most of them are at Union now. I love bringing people here, especially when it’s a great fit for them.”
Jimenez now works in enrollment and as a campus ambassador, where he's able to share his excitement about Union with visiting students and make a positive impact on their Preview Days experience. Other students can apply to be a campus ambassador and not only reap the benefits of free food and Union gear, but also the thrill of helping students experience Union.
According to Boyd, “If you’re struggling with ‘Where do I go to college,’ getting your boots on the ground—getting a feel of what it’s like on campus—will help enormously clear up that picture.”
Becky Daniel, former visit coordinator and current director of strategic marketing, shared, “We don’t want every student to come to Union College, we want the right person to come to Union College. People who are fearless and adventurous, who want to try new things and like being involved—people who like dressing up for dodgeball tournament: fun, quirky, adventurous, fearless people.”
“In fact, one in three people who visit Union decides to stay,” says Daniel.
When current students were asked what about their Preview Days experience convinced them to come to Union, time and time again the answer was, “The people.”
Daniel says, “Union students don’t know how incredible their impact is. They're our best recruiters. They're our best voice of what it’s like to be at Union.”
One awesome way to take part in the experience as a current Unionite is to volunteer to host students by emailing Boyd. Union’s unique program allows visiting students to room with current students, which provides them an opportunity to experience dorm living and meet some more friendly faces during their stay.
When students take the time out of their schedule to welcome visitors, it makes a lasting impression.
Boyd concludes, “Everyone thinks their people are great, wherever they are, but we really do have great students, staff, and faculty and getting [potential students] on campus and interacting helps them see it’s not just a show or a mask that we’re putting on. This is who we genuinely are.”
What else can current students do to get involved? If you have a friend that would love Union, encourage them to come for a visit! Check out www.ucollege.edu/visit to find open dates and for all the details on how they can get two nights and three days of free food and lodging as well as up to $250 in travel reimbursement just for choosing to check out the school.
Danica Eylenstein in a junior studying communucation.