Open House turnout breaks campus record

Melanie Mitchell, Copy Editor

Despite the rainy weather, 246 students and their families attended the Open House hosted by the Francis Marion University (FMU) Office of Admissions on Wednesday, Feb. 20 making the turnout of over 600 people the largest number on record.

According to Director of Admissions Perry Wilson, only 53 percent of students who registered for Open House attended, but because February’s open house is always the largest, the numbers were still the best reported.

Each school year, the admissions office schedules four open house dates for potential students and their families to tour the campus, attend sessions and view housing. Wilson works closely with admissions staff and FMU Diplomats to help visitors navigate the campus throughout the day.

Adviser for the Diplomats Bri Miller said this Open House was her first as an adviser and she was happy that everything ran smoothly.

“This was my first open house and considering how big it was, it was a great learning experience for me,” Miller said. “The Diplomats did a really good job too, and it was nice to have families compliment them.”

Diplomat and Student Government Association (SGA) member Jasmine Wright said she believes the increase in advertising for the university was the reason for the large number of students.

Wilson also noted that the advertising could be a reason for the high numbers, but cites other factors such as low tuition, attracts prospective students and their families to FMU. However, Wilson credits admissions staff and the FMU Diplomats as the reasons this Open House was a success.

“The staff and the Diplomats were great,” Wilson said. “People remember how you make them feel. We always try to be very approachable and friendly.”

Evette Davis from Rock Hill, S.C. attended the open house for her daughter Kira Davis and said she was impressed by the Diplomats. Raven Jones, a senior at Lake City High School in Lake City, S.C. agreed with Davis, and said she will be attending FMU in the fall because it is close to home.

To accommodate all of the visitors, lunch was moved from the University Center, where it is usually held, to the Ervin Dining Hall. This allowed for students to experience the dining hall and also made it more convenient for people to view housing after lunch.

In fall 2012, FMU saw a freshman class of 814, the largest number in 19 years. After this Open House, Wilson is hopeful that the fall 2013 freshman class will surpass the 2012 numbers.

“We’re hopeful,” Wilson said. “The applications keep coming in and we have another Open House left, so we’ll just have to wait until fall.”

The last open house of this semester is on Saturday, April 13. Admissions staff is preparing to host more prospective students on campus.