The past two weekends, SUNY New Paltz hosted an Accepted Students Open House, events catered towards showing future students what life is like on campus. This is a unique experience which allows incoming students and their families to speak and connect with professors and other faculty members on campus in a stress-free environment. They’re able to ask questions, see the campus from a student’s perspective and take part in various events in hopes of seeing what SUNY New Paltz has to offer.
Goldali Danberg Biggs, a SUNY New Paltz student ambassador, was involved with the Accepted Students Open House and reflected on it as a pleasant experience for everyone. “I hope students visiting campus are able to explore various majors and departments they might be interested in being a part of later down the line,” Biggs said. “Being on campus and learning about residence life, student organizations and clubs, and classes is a really good way to see if they could see themselves as a student here. At the end of the day, I hope they leave accepted students day with a clearer image of what they want from their college experience.”
For the previous incoming classes, all events prior to arriving on campus were mostly virtual. Having the opportunity to host in-person events again is a major factor in the success of the past weekend’s open houses.
There were many different events during these days which parents and students were able to attend. Residence Life hosted many different tours of campus, some specific to certain majors and others more general to allow accepted students to familiarize themselves with the campus. The Honors Program had mock classes led by professors in the lecture center available for parents and students to attend.
“Planetarium shows were being held [in the John R. Kirk planetarium] and led by students in the astronomy department,” Biggs said. “Performances were going on in College Hall by students in the music department and a club fair was happening in the [Student Union Building.]”
In addition, families left with some pretty cool New Paltz gear; free tee-shirts, water bottles and 3-D models of the Atrium (which were printed on campus) were given out to those who attended. Since the open houses were divided into two weekends, each focused on certain majors and hosted events specific to what those students were interested in studying as a way to show them exactly what they’re looking for.
“The first weekend I started my day directing families to parking spots and even from the cars you could see how excited everyone was,” Biggs said. “The second weekend, I stood outside the AWC to greet families as they walked in and everyone was just so happy and eager to be there. That’s really my favorite part of being a student ambassador because college is a big thing, and seeing someone find where they fit is really powerful.”
The positive feedback from these weekends was tremendous, as college is a major life decision for a young person to make. The ability to spend time on campus and envisioning if it’s the right fit is very beneficial to potential students.
“I had a family come up to me sometime around the middle of the day and say that they had me on tour and that this student was really nervous about college and wasn’t sure if it was the right path for her but, from what I shared on tour she decided change her major and commit to New Paltz,” Biggs said. “I almost cried, it was so sweet [and] I was able to talk to her and her mom and tell them more about programs available and opportunities she might be interested in. From this conversation I really felt the impact of not only tours and open houses, but of the community New Paltz has built and continues to grow on.”
SUNY New Paltz truly has a sense of community, and that was displayed at these events. There’s another Accepted Students Open House being hosted on Saturday, April 23. If you’re committed to New Paltz or still deciding, attending an open house will give you a better insight on campus life and how SUNY New Paltz students live. Be sure to check it out!