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UND is rolling out the red carpet

by Jan Orvik

Posted on 11/2/2017

Annual fall open house, unique to UND, draws more than 2,000 prospective students and family members

When it comes to choosing a college, a campus visit tops everything. UND Admissions is rolling out the red carpet to give as many people as possible the "UND Experience" during the busiest time of year.

The annual admissions fall open house, which takes place the third week of October during the North Dakota and Minnesota Education Association school break, hosted more than 2,000 prospective students and their family members Oct. 19 and 20.

It's grown every year.

"What we have with UND's open house is truly unique," said Jason Trainer, director of admissions. "Students and parents aren't expecting anything like this. It's much more robust than other institutions."

"This" is two full days of activities designed to help high school students and their families experience UND. It began three years ago, after UND's previous campus visit format couldn't accommodate all the visitors who wanted to come that weekend, traditionally the busiest for campus visits across North Dakota and Minnesota.

The open house begins with a welcome session and includes campus and residence hall tours, individual admission appointments, sessions on majors and enhancements such as study abroad and the Wellness Center, and learning activities. This year it culminated with a hockey watch party on Friday night.

Academic activities

The academic learning activities are new - and unique.

"It's important to involve academic departments in the open house," said Trainer. "Many students have an academic program in mind, and this lets students interact with faculty and see what we have to offer."

"We wanted to offer a tour of the College of Education & Human Development," said Dave Tack, assistant professor of secondary education. "And we wanted to showcase our learning environments. We have technology-heavy and science-heavy rooms, and we wanted prospective students to see a couple of freshman classes in action. Our classes are interactive, not just lecture-based. We showed them how students engage with faculty and demonstrated our student to faculty ratio. They were impressed."

What really resonated, said Tack, was that current students were doing homework in the foyer when the tour began.

"We roped them into talking about the program, and they were so glowing," Tack said. "It set the stage. Our strongest advocates are our students."

The kinesiology and public health department showed off their new BiPed Lab, which combines the traditional biomechanics and pedagogy labs.

"It's a unique mix," said Jesse Rhoades, associate professor of kinesiology and public health education. "We just opened the BiPed Lab, and wanted to showcase our department and show students what kinesiology is and what we have to offer."

They had more students than expected - a good problem, said Rhoades. "The students were really interested in our program, and it was a fun experience."

Other programs that offered active learning experiences included the new DigiComm Lab in communication, art & design, business, engineering, honors, music, psychology, and medicine & health sciences.

Positive comments

Prospective student comments were positive, said Trainer. A sampling is below:

I'm really glad that I was able to visit UND. I definitely fell in love with the school and it is number one on my list! - Thornton, Ill.

I loved the academic fair, everyone was really friendly and were interested in what you wanted to do or were looking for. - Plymouth, Minn.

I was intimidated by the size of UND before touring. After my visit, I found it to be a campus that I could really enjoy! - Cooperstown, N.D.

I loved how the professors looked like they loved their job. It makes me excited to have them as my professor. - West Fargo, N.D.

SO IMPRESSED with Dr. Praknash and the time he gave us and the questions he answered - Osakis, Minn.

The Aerospace tour was extremely comprehensive. Loved it! - Farmington, Minn.

The new medical building is astonishing. I can't wait to (hopefully) go to medical school at UND. - Stonewall, Manitoba.

"The biggest complaint we hear is that there's not enough time for families to do everything they want," Trainer said.

That's a good problem: "We have fewer students visiting our competitors now that we offer a full day of activities," Trainer said. "We offer enough exciting this on campus so families don't visit other institutions."

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