This year BJU is reaching out to prospective students in new ways through Visit BJU, providing opportunities to visit campus during College Up Close and Preview Days.
Dr. Jeff Heath, director of enrollment planning, said he has a specific goal for campus visits. “We are intentionally striving to give more opportunities to prospective students and their parents to come and visit the campus,” he said. The University hopes to accomplish this goal through Visit BJU, a campus-wide effort involving collaboration from the deans, the Welcome Center and the enrollment office, as well as professors and students. Visit BJU, Heath said, is the umbrella term that covers all planned visits to the University, but then these visits can be divided into two categories: College Up Close and Preview Days.
College Up Close provides students with a general, overall view of the University. Prospective students come by motor coach from different areas of the country and generally spend two days and three nights on campus, experiencing life in the residence halls, visiting classes and participating in other activities they want to attend.
Now, the University also offers Preview Days, which are one-day personalized experiences tailored to the specific interests of the visiting students. The visit begins with a general introduction followed by a multimedia presentation, a student-led campus tour, classroom visits, meetings with faculty and more. Preview Days are often themed to highlight BJU’s various academic programs, such as nursing and business, or to reach specific groups, including homeschoolers and South Carolina residents. The main idea, Heath said, is to give visiting students a real taste of the college experience and to get them to see themselves as college students.
The Welcome Center staff is primarily responsible for organizing these visits, said Welcome Center manager, Mr. David Orr. Welcome Center personnel work hard to provide guests with the most valuable experience possible, making personalized schedules, coordinating meetings with professors and deans, and providing customized campus tours. “There is a great deal of thought that goes into how the schedule should be arranged,” Orr said.
Visit BJU provides opportunities not only for prospective students, but also for current students. “The personal interaction with the students and faculty is really a key element to all this,” Orr said. This interaction gives university students the opportunity to share hospitality and practice the love of Christ with guests. Instead of just running on autopilot, Heath said, university students should be aware of visitors and make a conscious effort to reach out to them.
“The highlight of my visit was interaction with students and class visits,” one visiting student said. “The highlight of my visit was prayer group and the excellent testimony of several of the students,” said another. Even the simplest of gestures, such as introducing visitors in class or inviting them to lunch, can have a profound impact on their perception of the University and of Christ. Heath also emphasized that this personal interaction is not just putting on an outward show. “I’m talking about being real people: authentic, genuine, caring, like we really are,” he said.
Ultimately, the purpose of Visit BJU is to show prospective students what being a student at Bob Jones University is really like. “We want to demonstrate that college is challenging and rewarding,” Heath said. “The prospective student can be successful.”