The “Super Bowl” of Admissions

Chase Portaro

Move over Eagles, it’s the Bears’ time to shine! On Friday, March 31st, Ursinus College hosted its annual Admitted Students Day event to welcome prospective students of the Class of 2027, which Director of Admissions Diane Greenwood described as “The Super Bowl of Ursinus Admissions.” Greenwood explained, “Admitted Students Day is one of the most important admission events of the prospective student cycle, and its purpose is to give prospective students a chance to come to campus and experience everything, inside and outside of the classroom.” With over 430 prospective students expected to attend and over 1,000 people expected total, including the family members of the high school seniors, Admitted Students day proved to be one of the liveliest campus events of the year.

The event kicked off in the Floy Lewis Bakes Center with a showcase of the college’s clubs and organizations. Greenwood said, “The whole point is to give prospective students a chance to experience clubs, campus offices, organizations. Most of the time, students are down to their final choice, so Admitted Students Day can really be the deciding factor for them to choose Ursinus.” Over 100 clubs were represented at the fair, including your very own Grizzly, trying to recruit prospective students to strengthen their organizations and ensure a lasting legacy that will live on after current members graduate.

Living up to the Super Bowl-like atmosphere that Greenwood and other admissions staff members offered, the activities fair also included a confetti machine and an impressive spread of food. Also, the entrance to the event in the Bakes Center was in the form of a human tunnel made up of the Ursinus Mascot, “Zachie Bear,” alongside several students on the admissions staff with posters celebrating the arrival of the Class of ‘27. Nicole Cullura, the Assistant Director of Student Engagement and a member of the class of 2016 at Ursinus, remembers her own Admitted Students Day back in 2012. She said, “My admitted Students Day was a little less elaborate, so this is just awesome to see!”

Current students at the event also recalled their Admitted Students Day experiences. Kate Foley, ‘23, said “I distinctly remember coming to my Admitted Students Day and I went right up to the Breakaway Student Productions table where I met my very first person at Ursinus… It all feels very cyclical because I remember being in [the incoming freshman’s] exact same position.” Another senior, EB Bradigan ‘23 said, “I remember meeting Ali Wolf at my Admitted Student’s Day, and now I’m sitting at a booth with her doing the exact same thing, just from the other side. So, it’s all come full-circle.” Ali Wolf, ‘23, an executive board member of Breakaway Student Productions said, “It’s just really exciting because I’ve seen a lot of energetic interest – and that’s what we thrive on – people who are excited about the theater and the idea of a student-run organization… As a senior, it feels good to know that the org will be in good hands.”

Francis Rundquist ‘25, said “I remember [Admitted Students Day] being an overwhelming experience and feeling a bit lost, so I want to make sure our booth is as welcoming as possible but also as informative as possible.” Marie Sykes, Features Editor for The Grizzly and a member of the Class of 2024, remembers how Covid-19 affected her pre-orientation experience. She said, “I was on Zoom for my Admitted Students Day, but even then, I could still tell that Ursinus centered around community involvement.” Evan Dietrich ‘23 recognizes that community aspect of Ursinus and made it a goal to emphasize that in his interaction with prospective students. He said, “There’s an organization for everyone – it gives you a circle of friends that you’ll most likely be able to call family when you leave Ursinus.” Matt Nieves-Hoblin echoed this, saying, “No matter what, they will find a sense of belonging on campus, there’s literally a place and group for all students.”

The activities fair was followed by a welcome speech from Michael J. Keaton, Ursinus’s VP of Enrollment Management, given in the other half of the Bakes Gym, where hundreds of chairs were set up for prospective students to form a makeshift auditorium. He talked about what an Ursinus education is all about, while also not forgetting to give a special shout out to the Eagles, for which he received the crowd’s roaring cheer of support for the local favorite. Following Keaton’s speech, President Robyn Hannigan took the podium with Dropkick Murphys’ “Shipping Up to Boston” playing over the speakers as her walk-up song, alerting the crowd to Hannigan’s strong ties to New England. She focused on Ursinus’s core curriculum and emphasized the value of an Ursinus education.

Following Hannigan’s speech, the prospective students and their parents split off into two different seminars. The parents met separately to ask questions about campus life with a panel from the Residence Offices, while the prospective students met with a panel of current students to ask questions about Ursinus while their parents were not there. This gave parents a chance to ask questions without embarrassing their children, and it also gave students a chance to ask questions that they may not have otherwise wanted to ask in front of their parents. A prospective student at the activities fair, Griffin Meanix ‘27, seemed to anticipate the separate panels. When asked what he was looking forward to most in college, he said, “Probably the freedom of parental release.” Following the separate student and parent panels, students attended two sessions of a “Focus On Academic Excellence,” where students learned about different majors offered and explored departments across campus.

In just about five short months, Meanix’s wish will be granted, and he’ll be able to enjoy Ursinus’s campus by himself for the very first time. As Admitted Students Day concluded with a tour of the freshman residence halls, it is hard to believe that Ursinus will be welcoming the Freshman Class of 2027. I remember when “Class of 2024” felt weird to say. But, time flies in Collegeville, and while current students may not have realized all that lay ahead of them during their college selection process, they realize how valuable those moments have been in their Ursinus experience. Best of luck to the High School Classes of 2023, and even more luck to the Ursinus Class of 2027!