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In the spring sunshine Open House attendance soared

The final numbers are in, and they confirm what was widely suspected: Record crowds poured into Brock University for Sunday’s Open House, the most important event in the recruitment calendar.In this first year when the annual event moved from late winter to early spring, the backdrop was sunshine, green grass and April flowers as nearly 5,000 prospective students, parents and other guests made the journey from around Niagara, the GTA and southwestern Ontario.Beth Natale, Director of Recruitment, said Sunday’s crowds represent a 12 per cent attendance jump over last year.“The whole campus community stepped up,” said Natale, “and it showed how Brock can work together as a team. Students and parents were having a great experience. They were happy, they were enjoying themselves and they loved the interaction with faculty and students.”She said the enthusiasm was palpable to the more than 400 staff and students who gave up their Sunday to greet visitors, answer questions about degree programs and offer tours of everything from labs and residences to athletics and food facilities. Earlier in the weekend, visitors also toured Brock’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts in downtown St. Catharines.“Energy levels were off the charts,” said Natale. “People were enjoying themselves, and really getting a sense of what we have to offer.”University Registrar Geraldine Jones said her staff on Sunday had 21 on-the-spot registrations for fall term, an unusual level of commitment on a day when most people are in information-gathering mode.Besides the buzz taking place at the Information Fair in Beddis Gym, where representatives from academic Faculties and campus services fielded questions and distributed materials, the measure of the massive collaborative effort could also be seen in other numbers for the day:17 different presentations given, spanning Academic program/Faculties, Experiential Education, Study Abroad, Financing your Brock Experience and sessions for prospective Graduate students, Grade 10-11 students, and International students;12 Experience Brock opportunities were provided, including a Career Coach demonstration and labs for Nursing, Big Data, Computer Science, Digital Humanities, Archaeology, Applied Health and Lifespan Research;even the Campus Store offered discounts on Brock gear, and by day’s end visitors had bought more than 200 Brock sweatshirts.Rescheduling this year’s Open House from March to April was a strategic move to connect with potential students as they are receiving their offers of admission from Brock and other universities, said Senior Recruitment Officer Matthew Melnyk.“A lot more students are in the frame of mind where they’re making their final decision,” said Melnyk, “so I think our event made a difference. We wanted to make sure we were hitting the sweet spot where they had gotten their offers.”Melnyk said the other benefit of pushing the event until April was much better weather.“It was nice to see tulips instead of snow when we were putting the signs out.”The next big date on the application calendar is April 15, the deadline for incoming students to apply for the OneApp, where a single application allows them to apply for hundreds of awards and bursaries. The OneApp deadline for returning students follows on May 31.Melnyk said the true barometer of success from the spring recruiting season will be after June 1, the deadline for Ontario high school students to accept their offers from the University.

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