High School students get the UALR Experience
Nearly a hundred high school juniors and seniors gathered at a chilly UALR campus on Thursday, Feb. 6 to become college students for the day. Joining them were their parents, who had the opportunity to glean information on how to keep their student happy, healthy and safe.
Guiding the students into the campus was the task of Chancellor’s Leadership Corps volunteers, many of whom braved the cold to hold the signs showing the way. Between volunteers in CLC and staff among campus signing students in, there was clearly organization and efficiency. Much of the coordination was thanks to the preparation of Valerie Brashears and Katie Young.
“We spent months, weeks…we started preparing for this back before the Christmas break,” said Brashears, Coordinator for Communications at the Office of Admissions. “Getting faculty signed up to teach mock classes. There’s a lot of preparation.”
The students were guided into the campus by 1:00 PM and began signing in to receive a name badge at the Donaghey Student Center. The low buzz of student activity soon made its way into the newly built and dedicated Charles W. Donaldson Student Services Center. There, the students were greeted by Dean Kahler, Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management, and Lauren McNeaill, President of the Student Government Association.
To prepare for the students today, McNeaill said, “I talked to a lot of my friends about what it is they wanted to know about college when they were in high school. I reflected on my time here and thought about what were those things that were really useful in making me into the person I am.”
Not the students who attended Experience UALR had decided they were attending. This required a different, more carefully crafted message from the SGA President. “That’s the tough part, because to give a speech about UALR to students who’ve already committed is a whole other conversation. These students haven’t committed and they’re just here to see what it is like,” McNeaill said.
For some students it wasn’t their first time. Several in attendance for Experience UALR attended a recruitment event held during the fall.
Brashears explained, “The recruitment event in the fall is called Discover UALR. So, it is more of a general, overall tour of UALR where they can get more information about us. I think this Experience UALR is a step further. It’s more personalized, and they get to see what it’s really like as a student.”
For father and son Don and Luke Embry, they were among those that did attend the event in the fall and wanted to get to know UALR even more.
“His mother brought him in the fall to preview the dorms, so I get to come this time with him to see the college. He was excited about today,” Don said.
Luke had the opportunity to sit in on two mock engineering classes in the Engineering and Information Technology building. In these mock classes, “professors are advised to give the lecture as if it were their last,” Brashears said.
Luke had visited many schools including UALR. As an applicant for the Donaghey Scholars Program, he wanted to give the college and city of Little Rock as much consideration as possible.
“I was looking at a lot of schools in state—I wanted to stay in the state—and I went and toured a lot of campuses. This one stuck out to me as the best in my opinion,” Luke said. His father, Don, chimed in, “He likes the big city. There’s lots to do.”
The students had plenty to do with the mock classes, dorm tours, and dinner at the Trojan grill. After the meal, they attended a Trojans’ basketball the same night to watch the men’s basketball team take on Georgia State.