Welcoming future students
Fall Open House 2023 saw high school students visit campus
During the reading week, one of the highlights at the University of Regina (U of R) was the eagerly anticipated annual Fall Open House. This event, held on October 13, 2023, stood out as an extraordinary event that showcased the campus’ warmth, hospitality, and opportunities it offers to prospective students. With the dedicated efforts of university staff, volunteers, and enthusiastic high school graduates, the event marked a return to pre-pandemic attendance, with a total of 804 registrants and 616 attendees, excluding guests.
As Kayla Schmaus, Manager of Student Recruitment and Marketing, pointed out, “Because we had the event on the Friday due to the Fall Break, we had 11 high schools (both from Regina and outside of the city) bus students to campus. This is the first time in many years that we have been able to have that type of partnership with the schools for the event.”
Added to that, the feedback from participants and visitors was overwhelmingly positive. Kayla Schmaus stated, “My team and I have heard back from many students, guidance counselors, and parents/supporters, that campus felt like home. The volunteers were approachable and friendly, and the students felt informed of our programs and supports.” This highlights the sense of community that those students felt with the collaborative effort between the University of Regina and other high schools in and outside Regina.
Taking a sneak peek at the event itself, the Fall Open House unfolded with the Welcome Session kicking off at 10 a.m., though check-in had already started in the Centre for Kinesiology, Health, and Sports an hour earlier. Hourly sessions running from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. were designed to help familiarize students with the various faculties, programs, and services offered at U of R and the Federated Colleges.
The “Admission on the Spot” was one of the standout features of the Fall Open House. Students coming in-person could apply to the U of R on the spot with a reduced application fee of only $50 and receive an immediate decision regarding their application within hours on the same day. “The addition of the Admission on the Spot also ensured that students could feel supported through the application process, and celebrated when they received their admission to the U of R,” said Schmaus. “The joy in that space was contagious! It is no small feat to conduct this type of event and see the results that we did.”
The day’s schedule was thoughtfully organized to ensure attendees had a comprehensive understanding of what the U of R had to offer. While the students were waiting for their application decision during the Fall Open House, there were different events such as the campus tours, housing tours, and an expo featuring the various departments and student support services to keep students and parents engaged and entertained. The prospective students could engage in fun and memorable activities, such as creating friendship bracelets or taking selfies.
Through this, one thing is clear; The Fall Open House was not just an opportunity to explore academic programs, it was a chance to experience the heart of the university, and that made all the difference. Notably, it was also a great experience for the student ambassadors, student assistants, volunteers, faculty, and staff members whose role extended beyond information dissemination; they were the welcoming face of the U of R and contributed to the university’s warm and collaborative spirit.
From greeting the attendees to facilitating their drop-off applications, the student assistants and staff members ensured that everyone felt welcomed and valued. As a student volunteer on that day, I felt connected with the prospective students and their families since I had been in the same position not too long ago, starting my academic journey at U of R. It was like reliving my own first-year experience through the eyes of the eager newcomers.
To crown it all, the Fall Open House during the Fall break was more than just an informative event; it was a heartwarming journey of shared experiences, dreams, and aspirations. Apart from the orientation day, the Fall Open House is the day when the university community opens its arms to provide educational prospects to the next generation of leaders.
“Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.” – John Dewey