The Office of Admissions saw a more than 6 percent rise in the number of visitors touring campus over the last year, a trend a University administrator credits to the relocation of the Admissions Welcome Center to a more central spot.
The admissions office received approximately 38,000 visitors during the 2010-11 academic year, with the majority of the increase coming in the fall, according to data from Associate Vice President and Dean of Admissions Kathryn Napper. The 2,500-person uptick from the previous year comes after the opening of a renovated Admissions Welcome Center on the first floor of the Marvin Center this past fall.
“The Admissions Welcome Center, located on the first floor of the Marvin Center, has added a great dimension to our visit program. With its more central location, it is easy for our visitors to find, it offers a great sense of community and it provides a place for students and their families to speak with admissions directors before and after tours,” Napper said.
Originally located in the Academic Center, the Admissions Welcome Center moved to its new location at the end of the summer to make room for academic offices and classroom space.
Napper said the move has also allowed the admissions office to centralize its tours, which often use space on the third floor of the Marvin Center for larger groups.
“Prior to the new space on the first floor of the Marvin Center, the admissions office used the Marvin Center, particularly third-floor space to conduct our information sessions since our previous space was not large enough to accommodate all our visitors,” Napper said. “Having the Admissions Welcome Center in the same building allows for easier access to the information session for our guests.”
With 16,700 people visiting in the spring – 8,300 in the fall and 13,000 in the summer – student tour guides have had to adapt to leading larger tour groups. Napper said the number of guides has increased as well, reaching a current fleet of 200 admission tour guides.
Members of the Student Admissions Representatives program said although STARs generally give tours to 12-15 visitors, sometimes guides have to give considerably larger tours to as many as 40 visitors. Variation in the size of the tours also depends on the day of the week, with tours on Fridays generally being the largest.
“I prefer to have tours around 12 [people] myself just because we live in a city and it is sometimes difficult to get that one-on-one feel that the University pushes when you have larger groups,” one guide said. The guide was given anonymity as Napper instructs all tour guides not to speak with the media and declined to let The Hatchet interview any guides.
Even with the increase in visitors, Napper said the admissions office tries to maintain the personal feel of tours.
“Our goal is to keep [the tour groups] as small as possible to allow families greater access to the STARs, to provide more personal attention and to allow easier mobility throughout campus between our guests and those residing and working on campus,” Napper said.