West Chester University’s Office of Graduate Studies hosted its fall open house on Oct. 11 in Sykes Student Union from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Offering more than 70 master’s and certification programs, the University’s graduate education office provided prospective students attending Saturday’s event with the opportunity to learn about their desired degrees and additional related information.
After signing in, graduate recruiters directed visiting students and parents to the locations of their designated programs of interest, which were stationed throughout the Sykes ballroom and second floor meeting rooms. Aside from those five rooms assigned to host presentations from the University’s five largest graduate programs (counselor education, early and middle grades education, health, psychology, and social work), the remaining programs and their individual graduate coordinators were set up in the ballroom. The physical organization of the open house allowed for greater one-on-one interaction in which students could individually sit and meet with the faculty members, speak with financial aid counselors, and register for courses.
Not only was registration free of charge, but the graduate studies office also strives to encourage students to attend their recruiting events by offering each attendee a card with a code to waive the $50 application fee. “I didn’t know until yesterday that by attending, your $50 fee is waived,” explained senior English major Mary Freed. “I think this is extremely beneficial, especially for students that may be applying to multiple schools.”
Associate Director of Graduate Recruitment & Admissions, Michelle Auciello, asserted that the open house proves to be the largest recruiting event for graduate education at West Chester, with over 200 students expected to attend Saturday’s event. “We usually get about 50 percent of those who sign up,” Auciello explained, and by approximately 10:30 a.m., 125 people had already signed in. Auciello added, “We’re very pleased with the turnout, especially for a rainy day.”
While Auciello guessed that the graduate open house event has existed on West Chester’s campus for “probably over 20 years,” she described how the event has evolved from occurring only once per semester to what is now a recruitment process that includes four open houses and three information sessions every year.
“All events are advertised on the graduate studies website,” she explained, including an upcoming information session that is set for Nov. 13 at 6:00 p.m. in the Sykes Student Union Theater. “We really welcome current undergraduates to attend to learn about our graduate programs.”
In addition to the presence of over 40 graduate coordinators representing their respective departments and ready to address questions and concerns, the fall open house also provided students with a variety of resourceful materials to take home with them including the graduate catalog, course schedule, and other sheets with information regarding tuition fees, financial aid, and international programs. Then, after picking up a few information packets to take with them, attendees were also welcomed to an impressive arrangement of juice, coffee, fruit, and various pastries.
Stephanie Loeh is a fourth-year student majoring in English. She can be reached at SL764875@wcupa.edu.