Admissions counselor David Fine said that "the Junior Preview Days are a way that prospective students can see first-hand what makes a St. Olaf education distinctive."
Fine believes it is important for all prospective students to make an effort to visit the campus, because "there are so many concrete and intangible details you can pick up on campus that are simply impossible to discover without a visit. "
Fine additionally noted that, "the visit day also serves as a great opportunity for prospective students to hear panels of faculty and students discuss the experience of life at St. Olaf."
The Junior Preview Days that St. Olaf hosts are only two of several visit programs St. Olaf aims at high school juniors.
Minnesota Private Colleges Week, held every June, includes two half-day programs each day, and is a way for high school students, especially those from out of state, to visit several different Minnesota colleges at the same time. Each fall, St. Olaf also encourages both juniors and seniors to attend one of four different Fall Preview Days.
On Monday, a record 303 prospective students pre-registered to attend the Junior Preview Day. The students who attended then followed a full day's schedule that included breakfast, campus tours, daily chapel, lunch, and the choice of attending three of several informational sessions about life at St. Olaf. Discussions centered on St. Olaf's commitment to the liberal arts, a panel of current students discussing campus life, athletics and recreation, and music at St. Olaf.
For many parents, junior visit days are becoming just as important as senior visit days in their children's college search, although for different reasons.
Theatre professor Karen Peterson Wilson had insight on junior visit days both as a professor and as a parent. As a faculty member, Wilson said, "I like junior visit days because I think that is the year when students really seriously contemplate where they want to go and it helps spur them into seriously considering St. Olaf & It does help start getting people asking questions." As a parent with two sons at St. Olaf, Wilson says, "Junior visit days help make the decision about where to apply, let them know that they could 'mix' well with others here, give them information that helps them weigh their various options," whereas senior visit days "helped my kids with more specific questions like 'which classes do I want to try first' and 'what are the dorms really like."
The Admissions Office has several more events scheduled for high school seniors for the rest of the year, including Music Scholars Day, Scholars Day and Accepted Students Day. The next event for high school juniors is the Minnesota Private Colleges Week, from June 23-27.