Story originally posted to the Western Carolina Journalist on Sept. 17, 2013
By Hana Haden
More than 300 prospective students and their families visited Western Carolina University on Saturday, Sept. 14 to participate in the first open house event of the new school year.
This program gives students who are considering attending WCU the opportunity to come to campus, visit an informational fair, participate in a tour, meet with the various WCU departments, and attend the first home football game.
The additional 1,000 people brought in by the open house made the WCU campus busier than normal.
The open house guests began arriving at 8:30 a.m. and were able to visit the information fair, where there were booths representing Campus Food Services, Career Services, Cat Card Services, the Cat Tran, and many other on-campus organizations and departments. Once at this fair, the visiting students split into departments and nursing, education, and criminal justice seemed to be the largest groups.
Jacob Cotler, a rising senior from Raleigh, N.C., said that his main interest in coming to WCU is the small town feel and the location. When asked about his thoughts on WCU becoming a mid-sized school, he said he was excited.
“I think it’s great the school is growing. Being too small was one thing that I was worried about coming here, so it’s good to hear that WCU is headed in the right direction,” Cotler said.
Kierra Lawson, a student from Winston-Salem, N.C. had similar feelings on the issue.
“I want to come to Western for the nursing program,” she said. “I do really like that idea of small class sizes, but I like the idea of a larger school, too. It makes it seem prestigious.”
Although students seemed excited for the prospect of a larger school, the parents showed more concern. Dave Reynolds from Columbia, S.C. said he hopes WCU can maintain the high expectations in the classroom.
“My daughter wants to come to Western for the forensic science program,” he said. “One thing we really like that is unique to WCU is the small class sizes and the relationships students are able to develop with professors. I just hope that this can be maintained with the growing amount of students.”
Only time will tell how WCU will adjust to becoming a middle-sized school but it seems to be a positive attribute for students who are considering continuing their education on this campus. It will be a balancing act for WCU to continue to grow as it holds on to the things that people like most.