By Micah McIntyre
For the second time this semester, prospective Wheaton students from across the country converged on campus on April 14-15 as a part of the new #mywheaton Days program.
In years past, Wheaton Connection provided prospective high school sophomores, juniors and seniors with an opportunity to visit Wheaton and learn more about the school. At the end of the fall semester, the Admissions Office announced that they were replacing Connection with the new #mywheaton Days program for accepted students. Director of Undergraduate Admissions Jason Kircher explained that #mywheaton Days was designed to target a more specific demo- graphic than Connection.
“Previous Spring Connection events were geared to more than one audience at a time, hosting about 30% of admitted high school seniors and transfer students and 70% prospective high school juniors and sophomores,” said Kircher. “#mywheaton Days overnight visit events in March and April were our opportunity to solely focus on admitted seniors and transfer students by celebrating them as a whole: giving them a deeper dive into academics, residence and student life, and the work of the CVC.”
Freshman Luke Rutt hosted prospective students for both Connection and #mywheaton Days. He said the two event schedules and opportunities were similar, but his role as a host changed when the program did. Rutt went on to say that since the student he hosted had already been accepted and knew more about the school going into his visit during the #mywheaton Day events, he was able to spend more time showing the student what it is like to be a student at Wheaton outside of academics.
“Because they had already been accepted … and they knew what they were getting into, I could focus more on the floor life,” said Rutt.
“With [younger] prospective students, it was more about Wheaton life in general and answering a lot of their questions [about the school itself].”
The Admissions Office is planning to host #mywheaton Days again next spring, but Kircher said the school will continue to host the traditional Wheaton Connection in the fall and further expand the Fridays at Wheaton program through both semesters to give prospective students an opportunity to visit through the whole school year.
According to the Admissions Office, 223 admitted students attended the two #mywheaton Days this spring and over 60% had never visited the cam-
pus before. The #mywheaton students are representative of the incoming class as a whole.
Kircher shared that according to the #mywheaton demographic, there were more male applicants than female applicants this year, “bucking the national trend” among many Christian and liberal arts schools. However, he has also seen the national trend of an increasingly diverse field of applicants hold true at Wheaton as well.
“An increasing number of international students are calling Wheaton home and an increasing percentage of our incoming class of first-year students are students of color,” he said. “Additionally, an increase in the number of first-generation college students, from a variety of backgrounds, are choosing to apply to and attend Wheaton.”
Kircher and the admissions office do not have any final numbers, but with the May 2 decision deadline fast approaching, the incoming class is beginning to take shape.