Prospective students offered $1,000 renewable grant just for visiting


Photo By Ezra Craker

Calvin admissions has revamped visit days for prospective students considerably, tailoring them to individualized interests and needs.

Current students might recall the unmistakable atmosphere of a Calvin visit day — enthusiastic tour guides, coffee booths for families and welcome signs galore. This year’s visits come with an extra hospitality measure: a $1,000 renewable tuition grant offered to any prospective student visiting Calvin this year.

The new grant is just one part of an effort to improve the admissions process this year — an effort which also includes new hires and more personalized visits. 

“The visit experience is a major focus for the department and is a priority contributor to meeting our enrollment goals for fall ‘23,” said Associate Director of Admissions Jonathan Pate. Pate said the admissions team believes their new approach will bring more visiting students than have come in past years.

According to Vice President of Enrollment Strategy Lauren Jensen, visiting campus is a lead indicator that a student will not only apply, but ultimately choose to attend Calvin. “That is absolutely also part of driving visits, because we want to encourage people to come,” Jensen told Chimes. 

The grant will be given to students who visit and then commit to Calvin, adding up to $4,000 in scholarships total if the student attends the university all four years. American high schoolers must attend an admissions-sponsored, in-person event before May 1 of their senior year to be eligible; international students must attend two virtual events. The offer is also extended to transfer students if they attend an event within 12 months of starting at Calvin. 

For now, the grant is only available to current juniors and seniors in high school and college students who transfer to Calvin in 2023 or 2024. 

The new visit-driven admissions approach requires more hands on deck. The amount of staff members working on visit schedules and student engagement has more than doubled since last year, according to Pate. Now, admissions staff is divided into two teams: one that focuses on big events like Calvin Discovery Days and another dedicated to individualized visit experiences. 

It’s too soon to tell how the updated admissions process will affect enrollment. Hayden Stob, a high school senior from Minnesota who’s hoping to visit soon, said that he appreciates that the grant is being offered but that his college decision will ultimately be based on which school is the best fit. 

“I believe that overall the college decision is more about personal fit and that it is wise to choose the school that best suits my interests and needs,” Stob said. “Whether that is Calvin or not, [the grant] is a nice bonus and hopefully I will be able to visit soon!”