Open House Brings 500 Prospective Students and Parents to Campus

Since the start of the 2021-2022 school year, Dickinson College has hosted two in-person open houses, one on Oct 23 and another on Nov 13. Molly Boegel, the director of admissions programs and services, stated, “Campus is such an important part of students’ search and selection”… therefore the admissions office worked hard to make these on-campus events a possibility. 

According to Boegel, there were 500 registrants for the October and November open houses and there were approximately 350-500 attendants during the two days. Many of the attendants are high school seniors and are primarily from the Northeast and the Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. 

Mackenzie Brielmann ’23, an Admissions intern, says the process of organizing these open houses changed during the pandemic, and many of the options that would be possible pre-pandemic no longer were. For example, “[they] decided to have two separate itineraries to help spread the families out in large spaces”. Additionally, dining services posed a challenge and was a source of frustration for some guests. Boegel stated, “Typically, an open house will provide lunch in the dining hall, and… we knew that would not be the best option for our community.” Admissions staff thus opted to provide snack bags and drinks for guests. 

Despite the challenges, the admissions office received mostly positive feedback from visiting families who were happy that Dickinson provided an opportunity for prospective students to explore campus and to interact with Dickinsonians. Many families thought that the event was well-organized and transparent, and they were appreciative of the student volunteers. According to Brielmann, “The events of the day ran smoothly, and we had many offices and programs on campus available for families to explore during their time on campus”.

Boegel stated that success for an open house is determined based on survey feedback from attendees and how many students take action to learn more about Dickinson or apply after attending the open house. There is no data available for the percentage of prospective students who applied/took action after the fall in-person open houses. 

However, many admissions staff and volunteers described the open houses as successful and helpful for prospective students. Davianna Bartelli ’24, a member of the Liberty Cap Society/tour guides, stated, “The prospective students were all incredibly intrigued in all of the opportunities Dickinson College offers, the endeavors that contribute to the unique Dickinson experience, and the warm and inclusive community here”. 

In addition to the in-person open houses, virtual open houses were also an option for prospective students. Boegel and Brielmann said that the admissions office is planning future in-person open houses, among them is a spring event for accepted students. The admissions office will prioritize in-person events but plans to continue virtual events in order to increase access for all prospective students.