Over 200 prospective students registered to attend Francis Marion University (FMU) at the open house on Oct. 18.
The day included tours of the campus, informational seminars and lunch at Ervin Dining Hall.
“The decision you make [about college] is going to affect the rest of your life,” FMU President Dr. Fred Carter told prospective students. “You don’t only learn, but you do what you’re learning.”
He told them to think about three things when making their college decision: place, people and education.
FMU’s size sets it apart from many liberal arts universities. The smaller class sizes allow students the opportunity to interact closely with professors, receive hands-on training and gain experience in their field.
According to Carter, faculty members are not only teachers but scholars in their field. FMU professors are applying what they are teaching in the classroom.
Also, teaching assistants and graduate assistants do not teach classes at FMU. At FMU, it is “all faculty all the time,” Provost Dr. Richard Chapman said.
Freshman Biology major Zachary Greenwood said that attending Open House as a high school student impacted his decision to attend FMU.
“[Open House] showed me that at FMU I’m a person, not a number,” Greenwood said. “I could tell that the faculty and staff cared.”
Greenwood is now a member of the FMU Diplomat Organization that works with the FMU Admissions office to recruit new students, by primarily assisting at open house and giving scheduled tours.
“I get to represent the university, meet new people and help make their college decision easier,” Greenwood said.
Admissions Director Perry Wilson told prospective students that when making their college decision it is important for them to consider which institution they will be happiest at.
“You need to ask yourself, ‘Can I see myself at this institution?’” Wilson said.
FMU professors, staff and students communicated to attendees what college life at FMU has to offer.
Attendees visited booths hosted by faculty and staff who provided information about various aspects of the university. Booths included information on the writing center, campus police, athletics and the tutoring center.
Attendees also chose four informational sessions to go to. They picked two academic sessions in fields that interested them and two informational sessions that covered such topics as financial assistance, the honors program and admissions.
Dean of the School of Business Dr. Barry O’Brien hosted an academic overview session about what it is like to major in business at FMU.
He said that the FMU School of business tries to prepare students for the workforce.
“I love to see the growth, change and development that takes place [in a student] in four years,” O’Brien said.
According to O’Brien, even though FMU is a state funded school, it can often seem more like a private school because of the close-knit community. He said that he knows business majors at FMU by their first names.
Like Wilson, he encouraged students to find the best institution and major for their personality and academic goals.
“Come out here when we don’t know you’re here,” O’Brien said. “Attend any class … see if it’s right for you.”
Prospective students were also interested in learning about campus life at FMU. According to Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students Teresa Ramey, this is an important part of getting experience and enjoying the college years.
“A well-balanced education includes extra-curricular, or as we like to say, co-curricular activities,” Ramey said.
Ramey mentioned that it is often students with experience, not necessarily a 4.0 GPA, who have the likelier probability of receiving a job out of college.
Attendees were encouraged to ask questions during sessions and to contact FMU faculty and staff if they had further questions.
Each prospective student was given an FMU pen, notepad, folder and three tickets to the Oct. 18 men’s soccer game against Clayton State.
Wilson also passed out door prizes during one session when attendees answered FMU trivia questions correctly.
The 35 dollar FMU application fee was waived for prospective students who filled out and turned in their application during open house.