The campus visit: Seeing is believing

#VisitSIU

The campus visit is the most important factor that influences college choice. The visit helps students learn about academic programs and campus life and envision themselves at SIU.

Because the campus visit is so critical, we must do everything possible to get students to come see our beautiful campus and make sure they have a positive experience before, during and after their visit.

It’s especially important to bring students who are from Southern Illinois to campus so they can see the many opportunities that are available to them in their own back yard.

I’m pleased that we have been expanding efforts to reach out to students in the region with some significant results. Of course, we always welcome students for open houses and personal campus tours, but with additional outreach, we are bringing even more prospective students to SIU.

Connecting with area schools

For example, recently we held our first open house at the Transportation Education Center for students who might be interested in automotive or aviation fields. It attracted more than 200 students from nine area schools and was so successful we’re doing it again this year.

We also welcomed students from two schools to Morris Library to learn about what it’s like to do research in a university library. We’ll welcome more schools this year. Faculty librarians will work closely with teachers on lesson plans that make use of library resources. Students will then come to get hands-on experience with library research for real class projects.

Another new initiative is SIU day on Sept. 19. We have invited high school sophomores, juniors and seniors from about 60 neighboring school districts and expect hundreds of them to be on campus to learn about everything from engineering and business to English and psychology.

These efforts are in addition to inviting Southern Illinois students and families on Sept. 29; the Leaders and Scholars event for high-potential students on Nov. 9; and upcoming invitations for high school guidance counselors and administrators.

Outreach and effort

None of this is happening by chance.

It’s happening because of increased outreach to school administrators and teachers. It’s happening because a number of offices, including admissions, community relations and academic affairs, are building connections on and off campus between regional schools and SIU programs. It’s happening because our faculty and staff are stepping up to the plate to help students see the opportunities available to them at SIU.

Every one of us must continue to go above and beyond to bring prospective students to campus and make sure they are welcome when they get here. Thank you to all who are doing your part to make a positive difference in our enrollment trajectory.

Here’s a final, important note: If you see a group of students – possibly with family members — walking around with black and maroon cinch sacks, they are probably visiting campus. Please say “hello,” ask them if they have questions, or simply engage them in friendly conversation. Making them feel welcome will go a long way to helping them see themselves at SIU.

Author: Carlo Montemagno

Carlo Montemagno is chancellor of Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Learn more about him at chancellor.siu.edu.