Prospective students play ƒ?anthropologistƒ?TM at sampler

By David Cox

Keeping with tradition, a slew of prospective first-year students stepped on campus for the first time last weekend. How would Macalester help them fulfill their college dreams and aspirations, they wanted to know.

Approximately 65 prospective freshmen attended the first of two fall samplers last Friday designed to give prospective students the opportunity to visit classes, meet students and get a feel for the campus.

Director of Admissions Steve Colee said that the important aspect of samplers is to give high school students an honest impression of Macalester so that they may decide if the school is a good fit for them.

“We’re not creating a Hollywood set,” Colee said. “We allow students to assemble their own schedule. Essentially, we want them to be amateur anthropologists and draw their own conclusions.”

Prospective first-year Angela Lee took the day off from school to attend the sampler. Lee said she enjoyed that she was given freedom to explore Macalester on her own. She came away with a positive impression, she said.

“The admissions office was very relaxed and informative. They weren’t in my face at all,” Lee said. “I was allowed to explore the things that I’m interested in and overall I had a very good experience.”

Alex Howe ’09 reflected fondly on his experience at a fall sampler when he was a senior in high school. Howe said the sampler gave him an accurate impression of Macalester and helped guide him through the tedious process of selecting a school.
“I was looking for a place that would accept my long, flowing hair as well as my appreciation of solid jam band music,” Howe said. “If it wasn’t for that sampler I probably would have ended up at Evergreen State or something. God that would have been a mistake.”

Last week’s sampler included campus tours throughout the day as well as information sessions on Financial Aid and study abroad opportunities. Prospective students also had the chance to ask questions of a student panel as well as sit in on classes.

Colee said he expects more students to show up for the next fall sampler, which will take place on Oct. 20. Fall samplers are open to all high school seniors, as opposed to the sessions held in the spring, which are limited to admitted students.

Colee said that the Admissions Office can only do so much to impress students and that the real responsibility to give a good impression lies with the community.

Howe said that one of the main reasons he came to Macalester was the general vibe he got from the student body.

“I walked onto the quad for the first time and there were two hippies chilling with a hookah,” Howe said. “Dude, it was sweet. I ended up applying early decision.”

The primary reason for hosting the fall sampler on a regular day of classes is to give prospective students the opportunity to soak in all of what Macalester has to offer.
“The sampler is a Macalester community activity,” Colee said. “Samplers depend on student volunteers to do things such as guiding tours. And just in general we depend on the students to create a welcoming community.

“We coordinate it, but everyone has to be part of it.”