Spring Open Campus (SOC), Wellesley’s yearly event when admitted students are invited to visit Wellesley, stay overnight and get a feeling of the campus, is known for its tremendous influx of prospective students. Typically, between 300 and 500 prospective students attend SOC. According to Lauren K. Dennis, Associate Director of Admissions, this year had between 700 and 800 prospective students.
“This year we’ve had a very strong response and it looks like this will be among the top five largest Spring Open Campus events in Wellesley history,” Dennis said, noting that this includes students from 40 states, as well as international students.
To meet the need of this historically sized event, the Admissions Office has continued to rely on student volunteers. According to Dennis, over 350 students are volunteering in some capacity with this event, with roles including “airport greeter, lunch buddy, registration support, overnight hostess” and more. Some students are taking on even larger roles: Emily Carey ’19 and her roommates will be hosting three prospective students in their triple.
Many admissions volunteers are involved beyond just SOC in other recruiting events throughout the year. These events, which also rely on student volunteers in order to run properly, include a lunch visit program throughout the fall semester and overnight programs in fall and April.
“We rely heavily on word of mouth and spam around campus, and there are a number of students organizations that help us to recruit volunteers to help with admission events,” Dennis said. She mentioned that all April events have had higher than usual attendance.
“Just last week we had about 80 people show up for our very first information session, which is about double what we usually see in early April for a presentation,” Dennis said.
The class of 2020 received more applications than any previous Wellesley class, numbering 4,888 applications. The admissions rate was 28 percent. For comparison, the admissions rates for the classes of 2018 and 2019 were 30 percent each.
Dennis mentioned that student applicants often cite a positive experience with a current Wellesley student as a reason for applying.
“I do feel like I am influencing students’ choices. My goal is to show them how great Wellesley is and, from what I have heard from the prospies I have hosted, they are definitely applying, if not attending Wellesley in the upcoming years,” Carey said.
“Getting to spend time with […] bright, fun, enthusiastic students is usually the most powerful tool we have for helping prospies to appreciate what Wellesley is all about,” Dennis continued.
“It’s really welcoming and accessible and it makes Wellesley easy to navigate,” said Amy Hai Li, a prospective student. She mentioned that she knew when she applied to Wellesley that she liked it, but she had never visited before, so SOC was her chance to find Wellesley’s “soul.”
When prospective students consistently demonstrate the importance of dedicated student volunteers in their choice to apply and enroll, the Admissions Office has an incentive to seek out this type of volunteer.
Many volunteers with the Admissions office share this mentality and are eager to talk about their own Wellesley experience.
“When I went on my first tour of Wellesley, my tour guide was so enthusiastic and she was the main reason I became interested in attending Wellesley. Ever since coming here, I have wanted to have that same influence on prospective students and hosting them gives me this opportunity. I love Wellesley and being able to share my passion for it to others is so rewarding,” Carey said.
Photo courtesy of imfirst.org