Preparing for a Campus Visit

Greetings friends and #futuredawgs,

‘Tis the season for acceptance decisions, scholarship competitions, and narrowing down your college choices.  What’s the best way to decide if a school is a good fit for you?  The campus visit.  Here are a few tips to make the most of your visit experience:

1. If possible, schedule your visit for a time when school is in session, and the campus is active.  Visiting on a weekend or National Holiday may be tempting, but the experience you will have on those “off days” differs greatly from the feeling of a campus that is buzzing with students headed to class and practice!

2. Schedule your visit at least two weeks in advance.  The more time you give the admissions office to plan your visit, the more specialized it can be!  Ask to eat in the cafeteria, meet with faculty, sit in on a class, or stay overnight.  These personalized experiences are so beneficial for getting a deeper understanding of how you and the university will click.

3. Do some research.  Browse the University’s website, and familiarize yourself with the basics.  Why visit a campus just to hear the facts you could read online?  If you already have an idea of size or basic majors, your conversations can delve further into the good stuff.  Things like, “what is beneficial about a small classroom environment?” or “what internship opportunities are available in my degree program?”

4.  ASK QUESTIONS.  No seriously, ask questions.  You don’t necessarily have to enter the meeting with your admissions counselor having already prepared an encyclopedia of inquisitions, but you should never be the person who responds to, “Do you have any questions?” with “Uh……….”.  Use your meeting times well, and let us counselors do our jobs!  We want to help you!

5. Enjoy yourself.  It can be daunting to walk into a cafeteria with hundreds of college students just going about their daily routine.  Instead of feeling like a guest in a really busy home, take in the experience, and try to picture yourself as one of those folks making their daily trip to the salad bar before they head to their chemistry lab.  When you visit a classroom, mentally engage yourself with the topic, and imagine your educational future.  As you walk about campus on tour, joke around with the tour guide, and they may just tell you their favorite ultimate Frisbee game highlight or their fondest Spring Formal memory.  This is your visit!  Enjoy it!

To schedule a visit at GWU, go to  Hope to see you soon!


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The Golden Child

Here in the admissions world, there is a wonderful time of year when hundreds of scurrying university employees from all over the nation race about in their economy sized cars with rolling suitcases in tow to set up for college fairs.

You know that college fair you had in your gym a few weeks ago?  Every college representative there had already been to about three other fairs that day and probably twelve that week.

We are always on the go during these months, and we are always so eager to meet the best and brightest students.

There are several generalized types of student behavior at college fairs.

1.  The eye contact avoider

This student keeps their head low.  When the admissions counselor takes a break to sip some water, the student swoops in and grabs a brochure without a word.  Then they are gone as quickly as they appeared.

2. The too comfortable

This student thinks that everyone at the fair is their homie… their pal… their peer… their question answering circus monkey.  Their first words to a counselor are, “Yo, where this school at?” or the ever popular, “Ya’ll got sports?”

4. The deer in the headlights

This student approaches the table cautiously.  The counselor says, “Good afternoon!  Can I answer some questions for you about Blah Blah University?”  The student stares with shocked eyes and short breath… “Wait, we were supposed to have questions prepared?”

5.  The golden child

Ahhh… this student.  This student approaches the table with confidence.  They politely extend their hand in greeting and say, “Good afternoon, my name is Golden Child, and I am a senior.  I am very interested in learning more about your University.  What sorts of merit scholarships do you offer?”  As they depart from their mutually beneficial conversation, they state, “Thank you so much for your time.  Have a wonderful day.”

Okay, so all of these examples are caricatures of actual student interactions, but you get the point.  Being prepared for a college fair is one of the most constructive and beneficial things you can do.  In order to gain the most from an hour of table hopping, you must recognize what type of school you are looking for (technical, liberal arts, two year, four year, etc.), what the most important factors are in choosing your school (size, location, degree programs, student life, etc.), and what audience you are in conversation with (the people who will determine whether or not you get in).  You should always maintain eye contact, offer a handshake in greeting, and feel honored and that this large caravan of traveling academics has made their way to your high school specifically to engage in conversation with you.  Because you are important.  Because we all want you to succeed.

Here are few “ask this, not that” tips to help you prepare for future fairs.

Ask this:  “Can you tell me about your three most popular degree programs?”

Not that: “What kinds of majors do you have?”

Being specific and engaging will get you the information you are looking for and allow you to go further in depth with the college representative.  Asking broad questions is often like saying, “list all 50 majors from memory, please”.  We put that sort of basic information in brochures on the table.

Ask this: “Were you a student at this school?  What was your favorite activity to participate in?”

Not that: “What’s there to do?”

Often personal experiences and anecdotes are the best indicators of student life at a University.  Do you really want every representative to tell you, “We have x number of student organizations and x number of sports”?  No, you want us to tell you about the time we met the author of our favorite book while he spoke on campus or that time we started an acapella choir.

Ask this: “Can you tell me a little about your men’s basketball program?”

Not that: “I wanna play basketball.”

Understand that admissions counselors can only offer you basic information if you want to play a sport.  The majority of that process happens with the athletic staff specifically.  We can, however, tell you about the teams upcoming season, their previous records, their special achievements, what it’s like to cheer in the Dawg Pound, etc.


College fairs are a wonderful opportunity to learn.  They can be overwhelming.  They can be an excuse to get out of class.  They can be intimidating.  But, in every case, they are a wonderful resource afforded to students.  Make the most of them!  I can’t wait to meet you all out on the road in the future.

Until then, I’ll be jotting thoughts on post-it notes.


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“Caught in the Webb”

There’s a pretty corny saying that has circulated around campus for years.  It is our best clever attempt to explain what it’s like to be so attached to our wonderful community of people, that we just don’t want to leave.  We call it getting “caught in the Webb”.  Humor the corniness, and embrace it.

I am the embodiment of  this saying.  I graduated from GWU in 2012 and came to work as an admissions counselor in March of this year.  Throughout my undergrad career, I was a student worker in the admissions office (and a blogger!), and now I find myself being a full time employee in the same office, and an MBA student.  I am so “caught” in this wonderful community, that I recently bought a home and adopted a sweet new puppy.  Needless to say, my day planner is full.

The environment here is contagious.  People truly care about one another, and that is the most comforting feeling in the world.

Maybe you read a few of my blogs as a student.  They were mostly about all the shenanigans of student life.  Now, I will be communicating with you more about the admissions process, but hopefully the shenanigans of being an employee will make an appearance every once in a while.

Until then, I will be furiously writing down notes on my day planner post-it notes.  It’s great to be back.


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The Final Countdown

In the past few weeks, I have been more conscious of my “last” everything as an undergrad.  I’ve had my last week of classes, my last presentation, my last exam, my last Pancake Bingo Night, my last Prison Fellowship Visit, my last Tuesday night trip to half off pizza night at Pleasant City, and probably even my last time using the bathroom on the first floor of Hamrick.

It’s amazing how much I have taken for granted over the last few years and just how much JOY I have experienced.  Now that I realize it’s almost over, I’m clinging to every fond memory I’ve created at Gardner-Webb, and trying to fit in as many more as possible.

In honor of my indescribably wonderful GWU experience, I’ve decided to give you 10 unconventional insider tips on making your time here incredible:

1. When you get “Reading Day” in the Spring Semester to prepare for exams, DON’T READ ANYTHING.  I repeat, don’t read anything.  You’ve been studying and working hard all semester (hopefully), so use reading day to take a road trip with your best friends.  Trust me, it does the brain good.

2. During the first semester of your freshman year, by all means, spread yourself too thin.  Check out every single opportunity on campus that interests you, and resolve to experience as much as possible.  The longer you are in school, the more you will zero in on your passions, and at that point, you will have no need to overcommit to tons of random obligations because you will be fully committed to the passion you discover.

3. Stay up late early in your college career.  During my first few semesters, I stayed up until at least 2am every night.  Now, I’m in bed by 10:30 most nights.  Your schedule starts adapting to adulthood sooner than you may like.

4.  You will live, breathe, laugh, study, fight, cry, and experience life with your friends in a whole new way.  This is a huge blessing.  While in the midst of this blessing, do your best not to neglect the family that you have lived life with for the past 18 years back home.  There’s a balance to be found.  Don’t be that person that leaves the fun every weekend, but don’t be that person that calls their grandma once a month.  A lot can change while you’re away.

5. You really aren’t too cool to participate in anything.  Wear matching windbreakers around campus with your friends, post embarrassing pictures of being wrapped in duct tape, “boo” people who yell a false bingo during Pancake Bingo Night, go to the drive-in movie and eat cookie dough in the trunk of a Corolla, sleep outside in hammocks, dance in ugly Christmas sweaters, and wear flannel to the Cleveland County Fair.

6. Don’t complain about the caf.  If you move off campus, you will sorely miss the days when you didn’t have to go grocery shopping, buy cookware, prepare your food while you’re starving, and clean up the kitchen.  When in doubt, get caf creative.  Heat up cheese fries in the microwave, make a random salad burrito, or get whatever’s on the vegetarian bar because it’s always the best anyway.

7. On the topic of food, take advantage of all the area’s meal deals for college students.  You’ll get the hang of it eventually, but the best route is usually: Pleasant City on Tuesday, iHop or Newts or $4 Georgio’s cheesesteaks on Wednesdays, and Mi Pubs or Smoke on the Square hot wings on Thursdays.

8. Get involved in the Boiling Springs community.  After you get acclimated to campus, don’t limit yourself to only your group of friends.  The town of Boiling Springs has a wonderful community full of loving people.  Get involved in a church, go to community dinners, spend time with families, find a mentor, babysit someone’s kids, go to the Farmer’s Market.  Your life will be made greater because of it.

9. For all my fellow high school overachievers, know that there may be more important things in life than making straight As.  I know that seems blasphemous, but I promise you that it is true.  Always do your best in academics, it is after all why you’re here, but don’t let the nature of academic competition hinder you from living a life of joy and new experiences.  Here’s the truth, I am a great student, but I made 4 Cs in my college career.  If I had made those grades in high school, I would have sunk into a deep depression because I was so focused on the competition.  Now that I’ve lived an undergrad career, I am proud of all my academic accomplishments, but I would gladly trade those 4 Cs again for all the wonderful experiences I’ve had.

10. Here’s one you’ve never heard before: “College is what you make it”.  But seriously, it’s true.  You will hear negative people complaining about all the things they don’t like about dorms and tuition and rules and grades, but you will find joy where you create it.  Rather than complaining about how there’s nothing to do in a one stoplight town, find joy in the fact that you can stay up until 3am playing flashlight tag or go tubing down on the Broad River.  There is so much life in the people and places at GWU.  You will grow in knowledge and experience and truth, and if you so choose, you will find great joy.

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As I continue to trek down memory lane, I realize that sophomore year was one of the greatest years ever.  I wish I could just do it all over again.  Here are a few highlights:

The dance parties were numerous and incredible.  I went on some more road trips!  DC again and Nashville!  My entire body was wrapped in duct tape.  I got to lead worship with great friends at a church in downtown Asheville a few times.  We took the infamous windbreaker friendship pictures.  I got a ninja turtle snuggie!  My boyfriend and my brother both graduated from college.  My dad came home from Iraq.  GWU had the best snow day in history.  I moved into a suite with my best friends.  I got to record my own songs in a studio.  Hiked Crowder’s Mountain on one of the best roommate dates.  Hammocked almost every single day.  My parents built a new house.  We began the tradition of taking bathroom pictures with toothpaste running down our faces.  The first tacky Christmas sweater party took place.  And, all in all, sophomore year sums up most everything I love about GWU.

I am so thankful for this place!

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Down Memory Lane…

Everyone is just going to have to give me a few moments to be sappy and reminiscent in the coming weeks.  After all, my undergrad career is almost over, and it has been some of the greatest years of my life thus far.

I was looking through some old pictures this week on my computer, and I hate to admit that I got a bit teary eyed…  Here’s a glimpse of my Freshman year.  When I met my best friends, bought my first guitar, lived in the ever adventurous Stroup residence hall, took my first (and second) road trip, wore cowgirl boots with everything, and had the worst yet most entertaining food service job ever.

Sophomore year highlights to come soon, as I continue to relive my college career in less than three weeks…

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This weekend was a whirlwind of adventure.  I got to spend so much quality time with some of the greatest people I know.  I am so blessed by wonderful friendships.

On Saturday morning, I participated in the The Color Run at the Charlotte Motor Speedway.  It was insane.  I was covered in crazy neon colors from head to toe, and got to shake my groove thing in one of the craziest finish line dance parties ever!  There were so many current GWU students and alumni at the race!

Following the 5k, I went to a wedding of two other wonderful GWU alumni, and danced for at least a solid 4 hours at one of the most fun wedding receptions ever!

All in all, I woke up the next morning with sore muscles.  Less than four weeks left until I’m a graduate of this fair institution!  Got to make the most of it!

The finish line party!

The Color Run... I recommend it to everyone!

And finally, the happy couple! Congrats Mr. and Mrs. Lacroix.

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Election Inspection

Here’s the truth.  I’m not really going to write about the election.  Let’s be honest, just scroll through your news feeds, and you’ll be thoroughly entertained by the political commentary (usually of less than quality content).

The real question is, what did you do while the voting results rolled in?  Now that’s a true topic of conversation that doesn’t foster any animosity…

I drank a big mug of peppermint tea and worked on a painting for one of our dear admissions counselors, Sir Shane McGrath, all while watching the results on at least three different news stations simultaneously.  The result (of the painting) was better than I expected (no comment on the result of the election… I shan’t make you suffer through another opinion for now).

Seinfeld, anyone?

All in all, it was one of the most relaxing evenings of the semester for me.  Today, let’s all celebrate the fact that YouTube won’t have any more political ads, and that I will be graduating in less than 6 weeks!

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Vote Yes for my Sweater

It’s been an eventful morning here in the admissions office.  While we’re all scurrying around with you futuredawgs on the brain, the only other thought that is occupying everyone’s mind is, “Does Jessica’s sweater look like she borrowed it from an 85 year old woman?”

Cast your vote here.  I personally think it’s great, and it cost me $5.

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Kittens… Inspired by… Kittens!

There is a stray cat problem in the greater Cleveland County area.  With stray cats, comes oodles of homeless kittens.  I have stumbled upon one of these precious little bundles of joy several times during the semester.  I will now share with you so much cute that it will make you want to cry.  No worries, we already found homes for these particular kitty cats.

Double heads!

Parrot kitty cat!

See the kitten. Hear the kitten. Speak the kitten. Cuddle the kitten!

My friends and my kitten friends!

Again I say, you’re welcome.

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