Visiting Campus is One of the Best Ways to Make an Informed Choice

By Jenny Barnett, September 30, 2022

Ithaca College hosts Open House for prospective students.

Around 500 prospective students and their families, hailing from 18 states, spent Saturday, September 24, exploring a gloriously sunny Ithaca College at the first Admissions Open House of the 2022-23 academic year.

“We’re super excited to support students in the college search process,” said Nicole Eversley Bradwell MS ’02, executive director of admission. “We find that visiting campus and our community is one of the best ways to make an informed college choice.”

Eversley Bradwell delivered welcoming remarks to attendees at the Athletics & Events Center.

“It's important to me that we help you and your family make an informed decision,” said Eversley Bradwell. “So, at the end of the day, it's your choice, and I want to set you up to make the best choice.”

She described IC as “residential, medium-sized, student-centered, focused, collaborative, scientific, athletic, eclectic, artsy, fun and engaged, grounded in the liberal arts and professional study.” Eversley Bradwell also emphasized the college’s low student-faculty ratio of 11:1 and small class size of around 19, on average.

After IC

Within 12 months of graduation, 83% of IC graduates are employed, continuing their education, or engaged in service.

Testimonials in accompanying videos referenced the college’s diversity and described Ithaca as an accepting, vibrant, colorful community.

“Ithaca lets you be whatever you want to be,” said Olivia Carpenter ’22.

 “This is where I became who I want to be for the rest of my life,” said Antara Sen ’22.

An IC education is based on the distinctive combination of theory, practice, and performance.

“We know that we're educating students for jobs, careers, and professions that do not yet exist,” said Eversley Bradwell. “So, regardless of a student's nature, we have to be in a position to support them and educate them in a way that they can be successful beyond graduation. This integrated experience and hands-on learning lends itself to supporting students in becoming problem-solvers, advocates, collaborators, and innovators.”

The theme of support ran throughout the day—support for those navigating the admissions process, as well as support once students come to South Hill.

Eversley Bradwell urged the audience to reach out directly to the Office of Admission with questions about their application.

Open Houses

Learn more at future IC Open Houses:

  • Monday, October 10
  • Friday, November 11

IC simplifies the financial aid process by only requiring the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for consideration for need-based aid and will also consider all who apply to the college for scholarships. Eversley Bradwell stated that everyone is provided with a financial forecast laying out the cost for all four years so their family can compare IC with other institutions and make an informed choice. Eversley Bradwell invited those with questions to schedule a personal appointment with the Office of Student Financial Services.

She also outlined the IC Advantage,  which provides an opportunity for incoming students to engage with each other as well as faculty before they start their first semester by taking up to three summer online courses—the first one for free.

Ithaca College Reputation

Princeton Review “Best 388 Colleges for 2023”

  • #2 Best College Newspaper
  • #2 Best College Theater
  • #3 Best College Radio Station

U.S. News & World Report  “Best Colleges 2022-2023" (Regional Universities in the North)

  • #12 Best University
  • #2 Best Undergraduate Teaching
  • #4 Most Innovative Schools
  • #18 Best Value Schools

Campus Pride’s 2022 “Best of the Best”

  • Top 25 LGBTQ-Friendly College

families

Families and prospective students at the School of Humanities and Sciences Academic Exploration session at Open House. (Photo Credit: Miles Olivetti '24)

Following the welcome address, Academic Explorations hosted by each of the five schools allowed for a deeper dive into IC’s over 70 majors. Those still undecided about their area of study could hear about the Exploratory Program, which allows students to enter as undeclared before making a final decision about a major, a route taken by around a quarter of IC undergraduates.

At the School of Humanities and Sciences (H&S) presentation in Emerson Suites, a panel of faculty outlined IC’s focus on experiential learning: the active, integrated classroom experience, and research opportunities. They reiterated Eversley Bradwell’s comments regarding the commitment to guiding students through their personal academic journey, including allowing the flexibility for making changes until they find the right fit. Several professors disclosed the pivots they had made as undergraduates and a junior ambassador—a writing major with a concentration in creative nonfiction—shared that they had switched their choice of study at least five times.

Flexibility also extends to interdisciplinary programs, which cross departmental—and even school—boundaries, pursuing the study of a specific issue through a constellation of courses that are drawn across the disciplines. Legal Studies, for example, draws on classes offered across H&S—especially in politics, philosophy/religion, and sociology—as well as in the professional schools.

Faculty spoke to the rewards of teaching in small classrooms rather than large lecture halls, allowing for lively, in-person discussions and the chance to really get to know students. Professor of Psychology Jeff Holmes described IC as “the perfect size. It's not so small the opportunities are limited, but it's not so big that people get lost.”

Associate Professor of Physics and Astronomy Kelley Sullivan relayed how one of her physics students who had been struggling with some mental health issues felt highly supported by his teachers and classmates. He’d been told in high school that faculty wouldn’t care about him in college, according to Sullivan.

“I was really disappointed that message is still going out because that is simply not true,” she said. “At a school like this, you will not only be noticed, you will be cared for in your classes.”

After the general H&S session, attendees could join small departmental breakouts and explore specific degree options. Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies and Sciences Paula Turkon offered an overview of the program to a group of 12, taking them through the curriculum, outlining internship and study abroad opportunities, answering questions, and leading a tour of the facilities.

Sunny Sekhar was visiting IC for the second time with his father, having taken a campus tour in the summer. This time around he was interested in learning more about the course curriculum, taking a deeper dive into his degree of interest, and experiencing the department environment. He’d also arranged through the Office of Admission to meet with a current senior to hear more about the classroom experience.

“He gave me a good view of the class sizes and how the classes work,” said Sekhar.

The Scholarship and Financial Aid session in Emerson Suites, led by Meghan Fouracre ’02, assistant director of the Office of Student Financial Services, touched on scholarships, grants, loans, and financial aid, as well as the opportunity to work on campus.

Fouracre recommended families use the net price calculator to compare schools, check and double check to be sure their FAFSA is accurate, and get their student personally involved in the process.

FAFSA

The FAFSA application form opens October 1 and is based on the 2021 tax return.

Multiple resources are available online at ithaca.edu/finaid, where there is information for both new and returning students applying for aid and a to-do checklist; a chatbot answers frequently asked questions. Families can also email the Financial Aid office at sfs@ithaca.edu or phone 607-274-3131.

Janelle Harris felt the presentation was instructive.

“My concerns were relieved, and my questions were answered,” Harris said. She had also enjoyed connecting with current undergrads earlier in the day. “They are engaging, and very eager to tell you everything. And they're also honest, which I really like, encouraging you to keep your options open. The professors seem very friendly, too.”

people talking

Prospective students and families talking with admissions counselors at Open House. (Photo Credit: Nathalie Molina '24)

IC offers close to 200 student organizations, 27 Division III varsity athletic teams, 25 music ensembles, leadership retreats, service-learning opportunities, internships, and professional presentation opportunities. The Student Experiences Fair in Glazer Arena during lunch offered the chance to learn about some of these extracurricular activities.

Abigayle Tyson, from Albany, NY, planned on visiting some of the booths after lunching with family members. She had attended the Physical Therapy academic exploration where she was given a road map of the curriculum and enjoyed the lab tour, adding: “It was really interesting to see all the spaces.”

Lindsay Paille confessed to visiting almost all the stands at the Fair. She said the open house was “beyond helpful. I'm going to apply early decision!” Paille is planning to apply to the program in Television and Digital Media Production in the Roy H, Park School of Communications.

“I think that the communication school here is top notch and definitely well suited for Lindsay,” said her mother, Lisa. “The Park School has done a phenomenal job in indicating what opportunities they can provide.”

IC was the first college Paille visited back in the spring.

“I didn’t realize how good it was until I saw all the other colleges,” she said. “I knew I had to go here. Ever since, I've been waiting for this open house.”

Testimonials from Post-Event Survey

  • “Very well organized. Great marketing. I have four kids and have done lots of college tours. This was the best. Been doing this for 14 years.”
  • “It was absolutely wonderful to meet with the professors!”
  • “After visiting in the spring, I wanted to make a final visit before I send out my applications. This open house confirmed that applying early decision IC is what I want to do. I left the tour last spring very sure that Ithaca was as my number 1 choice. I felt this even more after yesterday’s open house.”