With admissions season in full swing, UCSB’s annual Spring Insight — a day-long, university-wide open house — attracted thousands of prospective students and their families to campus Saturday and showcased the various clubs, programs, majors and resources offered at the university.
Advisors, faculty members and hundreds of student helpers in yellow Spring Insight t-shirts lined the walkways to run the event. According to Christine Van Gieson, the Director of Admissions, Spring Insight is the single largest recruiting event of the year and is designed to be the final hook, line and sinker in getting students to enroll.
Other receptions are hosted around the country and in China, but with over 5000 people in attendance, there is no other single event that can provide the same exposure and information to students and families from around the nation, Van Gieson said.
“We have 5000 people signed up, but we’re expecting double that,” Van Gieson said. “To be able to get all your questions answered in one spot on one day … how amazing is that?”
An admitted student, Alexia Castagnari from Monrovia High School, is currently deciding between UCSB and Loyola Marymount University. She said Spring Insight gave her a chance to feel much more connected to the community and will have a large effect on her ultimate decision on which university to enroll for.
“I feel really comfortable and I’m really excited to keep getting involved,” Castagnari said. “I’m just kind of checking it all out. It’s right by the beach; that’s where I want to be. I think everything’s right here.”
Another admitted student, Jasmine Madeyski of Julian High School said the event gave her the chance to learn about opportunities that she did not know were available at UCSB. According to Madeyski, the people, clubs and programs that helped welcome potential freshmen had a very large impact on the desirability of the school.
“A lot of the seminars were really helpful and all of the booths have helped me out with my major and with all of the extracurriculars,” Madeyski said. “I’ve already been here a few times and I absolutely loved it. I knew it was my dream school and now I’m just getting as much information as I can to be as immersed in the community as I can be.”
According to Van Gieson, the university holds three central goals in the admissions process: To hit the enrollment target, increase ethnic and geographic diversity of the incoming class and see the academic indicators increase. The admissions process is highly complicated, however, and it boils down to a very delicate balance of admitting enough students without over-encumbering the university, Van Gieson said.
She added that UCSB is looking to enroll 4,500 freshmen and 1,350 transfers this year. Even a one percent error in the amount of enrollees, she said, can have serious repercussions on the university.
“The fall admissions of ‘09 was a big bubble; we exceeded our number and we’ve been dealing with it ever since,” Van Gieson said. “It’s like a pig in a python.”