Beginning this year, the program “An Inside Look,” which offers African, Latino, Asian and Native American students a chance to visit Ithaca College, will no longer invite prospective students to stay overnight with current students in residence halls during their visits, according to an email from Gerard Turbide, director of the Office of Admission.
The program “An Inside Look” allows accepted ALANA students to visit the campus and spend time learning about ALANA resources and meeting students in the community. The program was created in 1994, originally permitting participants to stay overnight, attend classes and experience the college for three days.
“An Inside Look” is scheduled during the same weekend as “Ithaca Today,” which is a program in late spring designed for all accepted students. The program includes small group discussions; tours; research; demonstrations; lunch with faculty, staff and students; and more. Though “Ithaca Today” is a multiple-day event, it does not include an overnight element.
Freshman Emily Abreu took part in “An Inside Look” last year. Abreu said she thinks the program is beneficial for incoming students because it gives them a chance to experience campus life.
“I was upset because I feel like the overnight visits gave students the opportunity to see how the college would really be,” Abreu said. “I think for a lot of families, especially students of color, their parents are very reluctant for their kids to go far, so I think that it also gives the parents a chance to see, ‘Oh wow, my kid is really happy.’”
Eric Maguire, vice president of the Division of Enrollment and Communication, said the office has been moving away from keeping prospective students overnight. “An Inside Look” is being removed within the Office of Admission because high school students may not be prepared for college life, having not been through an orientation process yet, he said.
“I think that what we do in those situations is we expose high school students to choices that they’re not necessarily prepared to make,” Maguire said. “We’re putting them in an environment that they can potentially make choices, and they may or may not have the perspective to make good ones.”
Abreu said she thinks by removing the overnight portion of “An Inside Look,” because the college doesn’t want to risk the safety of prospective students who have not yet lived in a college environment, will put ALANA students at a disadvantage.
“It’s not fair because athletics and the music program still offer sleepovers, but they won’t for ALANA students,” Abreu said. “They won’t put in the risk factor for ALANA students.”
Freshman Lisa Zheng also participated in the program. Zheng said she learned more about the college from talking more in depth with her host after her parents had left.
“Students, during the day, when they’re with their families, usually don’t open up to the host until later on when they’re away from their family,” Zheng said. “Then they can actually start asking questions that they want to ask.”
Turbide said the Office of Admission is continually evolving its programming to incorporate more aspects of what “An Inside Look” fostered for prospective and accepted students, along with their families.
“I think what’s most important is that prospective students, and particularly admitted students, have the opportunity to be on campus and experience the academic and co-curricular life that’s available to them here at Ithaca College,” Turbide said. “That’s the really important thing that we’re focused on when working with families.”
Though the admission office is removing overnight programs, prospective students still have opportunities to stay the night in programs not under the jurisdiction of the admission office.
Sophomore Brad Whittemore is the coordinator for the program “Dean’s Host,” which is offered to students who have been accepted into the School of Music. Whittemore said this program allows students to shadow a current student, eat in the dining halls and go to a recital that is usually produced by students themselves. He also said by spending the night in residence halls, students are able to experience what it is like to stay at college.
“If there are any students who have been accepted to the School of Music at Ithaca College, I can’t recommend it enough, because you get a first-hand, hands-on experience of what it’s like to be an Ithaca College student in the School of Music,” Whittemore said.
Maguire said even without the overnight aspect of “An Inside Look,” the admission office is still able to show prospective ALANA students what the college has to offer by encouraging additional visits and talking to faculty and staff.
“I would feel disadvantaged if we didn’t have the opportunity to really showcase what we offered students both curricular and co-curricular, but we have those opportunities through other vehicles and through other recruitment activities, just not the overnight host piece,” Maguire said.