Calvin prepares for largest Fridays at Calvin of the year


Photo courtesy Calvin College Admissions

This Friday, Feb. 28, over 160 high school students will visit Calvin’s campus for the Fridays at Calvin program, making it the largest in several years.

Fridays at Calvin is Calvin’s longstanding primary visit program. During a typical Fridays at Calvin, prospective students meet with an admissions counselor, attend chapel, eat lunch with faculty members, tour campus, visit classes and spend a night in the residence halls.

This particular Fridays at Calvin also happens to be a health science department visit day, which may explain a portion of the increased attendance.

Rick Zomer, director of pre-college programs and visits, explained, “With health sciences, there are so many different avenues.”

Zomer also attributed the large turnout to the time of year.

“I think it may be the timing,” he said, “because it’s late February and this is right around the time when people are really starting to dig in on ‘Where are we going to college?’”

 He added, “This is kind of right in the sweet spot of the college selection process.”

Besides Fridays at Calvin, high school students will also be coming to campus for the honors fellows program and the Entrada 2013 reunion this Friday, bringing the total number of visitors up to 241.

The admissions department has been running the Fridays at Calvin program for over 25 years and its popularity shows no sign of declining.

Stephanie Brink, assistant director of pre-college visits, attributed the program’s lasting success to the Calvin community as a whole.

“It is really important to have everyone involved and I think that’s what makes Fridays at Calvin so special,” she said. “It’s not only the Calvin admissions office but [prospective students] are going to be involved with current students, faculty and everyone on campus. I think that is a big factor for a visit that makes it special.”

Zomer added that little things like opening doors, friendly greetings and walking disoriented visitors to their destinations are foundational to the program’s success.

Brink agreed. “I enjoy seeing…the warm welcome from our students at things like chapel,” she said.

Most students are glad to welcome the flood of visitors to campus.

“My Fridays visit is what sold me on Calvin,” said junior Wendy Tabler. “I want to be a part of helping future students realize their place at Calvin as they make this crucial decision, just as awesome former students did for me!”

Kelsey Gilliland, a first year student, agreed. “My favorite Friday chapels are those with Fridays kids,” she said. “It’s great to see them join in worship once they’ve adjusted to how crazy we are.”

 With all its recent success — last year, Calvin had its highest enrollment numbers in six years — the Fridays at Calvin program will continue to be a big part of the Calvin community. With each Friday, it is introducing a new generation of students to the Calvin College community.

“You have a situation now where there is the next generation Calvin students coming,” said Zomer. “Their parents went through the Fridays at Calvin and now they’re bringing their kids.”