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The Scarlet & Black

Campus tours show off the Jewel of the Prairie

This year, prospective student tours will explore the City of Grinnell. Photo by Mahira Faran.
This year, prospective student tours will explore the City of Grinnell. Photo by Mahira Faran.

Each fall Grinnell College hosts two or three open houses for the Discover Grinnell Program. The program is geared toward high school seniors, and with each iteration of the event comes a more developed and enticing schedule to attract these students.   

For the first time ever, there will be a movie night in Bucksbaum Center for the Arts. The event will be hosted by senior interviewers in the admissions office, giving prospective students a chance to ask current students questions without the pressure of admission representatives present. The program will run Sept. 24 and 25, and again on Oct. 29 and 30.   

“These dates are before the early decision deadlines,” said Rachel Arseneault, coordinator of campus visits and events. “If they visit through a Discover Grinnell Program and find out ‘wow, this is a place I really think I could call home, it’s my number one that I’ve toured so far, I want to submit an application to Grinnell,’ … they can still apply early. This is a great program for students who haven’t been on campus yet, but also want to get a whole lot more out of a visit.”   

The program is appealing for its many components and multitude of opportunities in which students can take part, including access to professors and a look at dorm life. Ninety-five prospective students have registered for this weekend’s program, and around 80 of them will be staying in dorms with current students. Upon arrival and check-in, they will take a tour and attend an open house of intercultural affairs and multicultural student group suites on the second floor of the JRC. 

Unlike admitted students weekends in which a catered meal is served in the Quad Dining Hall or the Harris Center, prospective students will dine in the Marketplace to allow them to gauge what they could potentially be eating for the next four years.   

“As you can imagine, on the tour that families go on Sunday afternoon, they sort of will be bombarded with a lot of unfamiliar construction equipment and will wonder what is going on. Dean [of the College Mike] Latham does a really good job emphasizing what this project is all about and what it could mean for students who end up here,” Arseneault said of the “welcome reception” Latham is scheduled to give on Monday morning to families and students.   

Also on Monday morning, prospective students will focus on the duality of life as a Grinnell student, inside and outside the classroom. They will be able to attend a session on “life beyond Grinnell,” a panel on student life or to sit in on a class or two.   

“Students who visit for an individual visit during the summer months don’t have the option to sit in on a class, and then sometimes students schedule visits over fall break. We don’t offer classes then of course. So coming to a program like Discover Grinnell, they know they’ll at least get one opportunity to sit in on a class, and they get to choose the class.”   

The afternoon will offer an academic fair with representatives from every department and concentration along with an information session regarding admissions and financial aid. In addition to the new movie night this year, shuttles will take prospective students and their families downtown to the Pioneer Bookshop. While prospective students are welcome to take the shuttle back to campus, the three block walk back is an opportunity to see the storefronts downtown storefronts and get a feel for its atmosphere.   

“That part is a great way for them to realize the campus and the town are very close to one another, and they’ve heard that morning the ways the community members bring themselves to campus, but this might give them a better idea of really how wonderfully connected the campus and community is.”   

“Be on the lookout for prospective students, try to be a resource for them if needed. They’re really curious about what life is like here, so be as thoughtful and courteous as you can be,” Arsenault asks of current students. 

“Our job is to just showcase Grinnell, give them a bunch of different opportunities, and hopefully they’ll be able to walk away and determine if this is a good-fit institution for them, and if it is, we can ask nothing more from them than to submit an application.”   

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