Nov. 17, 2009
By Darla Martin Tucker
It’s like taking a great tune and making it better in a remix of the same song: University Experience, an annual event that presents La Sierra University’s offerings to high school seniors around the region, transitioned this year from a four-day affair to one big college visitation day.
The result: 739 potential La Sierra students, some with parents in tow, converged from 12 Seventh-day Adventist academies and several public high schools on La Sierra University’s campus Nov. 11 for a day of fun, fraternizing and learning. They visited 33 academic department booths, talked to professors, shook hands with the university Eagle mascot, received free La Sierra shirts, water bottles and contest prizes, including two iPod Touch handheld computers. At lunchtime, they lined the steps of the plaza leading from the university sculpture fountain, eating pizza, salad, drinking soda and listening to La Sierra’s Big Band perform snappy tunes. La Sierra’s Spiritual Life and Student Life departments, Center for Student Academic Success and Office of Communication and Integrated Marketing helped coordinate and carry out the event.
Corona residents José and Amelia Rodriguez were excited to visit the campus. Their daughter, Priscilla Rodriguez, learned about the Seventh-day Adventist school through her Advancement Via Individual Determination, or AVID class at Eleanor Roosevelt High School. She visited La Sierra’s Web site and found out about University Experience. Priscilla registered for the event and arrived with her parents.
“We’re really surprised. It’s really amazing for us to live so close to this wonderful university,” José Rodriguez said. La Sierra has “open doors for everyone who selects this university,” he said. “We feel we’re in good hands. We like the environment, we like the staff, we like the premises.”
“They make us really feel like family,” added his wife, Amelia.
University Experience proved “a great time” for Priscilla. “Today I learned a lot,” she said. She plans to study psychology and social work at La Sierra.
Dominique Bell, a senior at Redlands Adventist Academy said he would probably study biology at La Sierra. He wants to become a dentist. “I like the look, the campus is pretty cool and the students are pretty nice,” Bell said.
“I’ve always wanted to be here so I’m really excited,” said Stacie Lo, a senior at Mesa Grande Academy in Calimesa. “My dad went here and he said it was a really good school.” Her father, Bill Lo, studied dentistry and Stacie Lo is considering studying the same subject at La Sierra. Her twin sister, Deanna, is thinking about entering a medical program at Pacific Union College where a family friend works as a professor.
Both sisters enjoyed La Sierra’s University Experience event. “It’s going really good. There’s a lot of information,” Deanna Lo said.
Rebecca Volsch, a senior at Loma Linda Academy, is still mulling her options for a college major. She is contemplating a career in drama, “…maybe, but I’m not setting my hopes on it,” Volsch said. Mostly she wants to attend a college that’s close to home and was interested in La Sierra’s drama scholarship. “That’s one of the good things about here. That’s a plus,” she commented, sitting on a garden patio ledge with her friends.
“I want to do something in nursing,” said Karina Cervantes. She attends Loma Linda Academy with Volsch. “I could come here the first two years. I’m thinking about it still.” Cervantes enjoyed running into long lost friends during University Experience. “It’s fun. I’ve seen a lot of people I used to go to school with.”
La Sierra’s Enrollment Services department re-worked University Experience into an all day event to encourage campus-wide participation and interaction with potential La Sierra students. “Our general feedback has been positive and we believe that the extra hype and energy that came with such a large event will serve us in reminding students that La Sierra is the place to be,” said David Lofthouse, vice president for Enrollment Services.
Bobbie Hunt, a counselor with Los Angeles Adventist Academy has attended La Sierra’s University Experience programs for the past eight or 10 years, she said. Previous events were divided into four days with 200 students arriving on campus each day.
“This is one of the best [University Experience] I’ve seen. The idea of bringing all the students together at once time gives them a chance to see friends they haven’t seen. It added more warmth,” Hunt said. “This was more like a college fair. I think the kids felt more free.” Hunt’s own campus experience was enhanced by amenities available in a school sponsor/parent hospitality suite outfitted with Internet access, chair massages and other offerings. “I felt so relaxed,” Hunt said with a smile.
She was also able to visit with five former Los Angeles academy students who now attend La Sierra and who were helping with University Experience. “I’m excited. I’m really excited,” Hunt said.
Click here to view a slideshow of the day's events.
PR Contact: Larry Becker
Executive Director of University Relations
La Sierra University