By Abigail Chadwick, Assistant News Editor (Courtesy photo/PR Department)
This Saturday, hundreds of incoming freshmen and their families will be on campus.
Saturday, April 28 is Priority Enrollment Day for the upcoming academic year.
The purpose of Priority Enrollment Day is to allow incoming freshman the chance to register for classes. Specifically, it is for incoming freshman that have completed their paperwork and paid their enrollment guarantee.
“Priority Enrollment Day is the first opportunity incoming freshmen have to register for fall classes,” vice president of enrollment and student life Bruce Perkins said. “It is “Priority” Enrollment Day because students who have paid their enrollment guarantee are given priority in making advising appointments for the day.”
Priority Enrollment Day is also the day incoming freshmen become a Bison.
“Priority enrollment is a day to feel the pleasure of being a new Bison,” assistant professor of philosophy and director of the honors program Dr. Tawa Anderson said.
“It’s a huge thing. There’s hundreds of incoming students that are on campus, so there’s very much a sense of community. It’s not just enrolling for university classes, it’s joining a family, joining the Bison family.”
Priority Enrollment Day doesn’t just involve a few faculty and administrators. Rather, almost everyone on campus is involved in one way or another.
“This is the one event on our campus that involves practically everyone – admissions, financial aid, the Milburn Center, the academic center, faculty, academic deans, student development, facilities services, information systems and services, etc.,” Perkins said.
Not all students will be involved in the event, but some may end up as sources of information and direction for the numerous visitors.
“To be frank, parents and incoming students are going to be stopping random people asking for directions and where [they are] supposed to be,” Anderson said.
Priority Enrollment Day has two sessions, morning and afternoon. During these sessions students will be welcomed, oriented and academically advised.
“Families can choose between identical morning and afternoon sessions,” Perkins said. “Each features an orientation for parents and one for students. Each culminates with the student meeting with a faculty advisor followed by a celebration led by our current students welcoming our new Bison to the family. Throughout the day, students can get their OBU student ID made, visit with representatives from residential life, spiritual life, etc.”
Classes can fill up quickly. Priority Enrollment Day gives incoming freshmen the chance
to enroll in classes that may not be available later in the summer, or even the next day.
“Even on Priority Enrollment Day by late in the morning and particularly by the afternoon there’s a lot of full sections of freshmen level classes,” Anderson said.
“If you come in to enroll later in the summer, there’s a lot more limitations in terms of scheduling so Priority Enrollment Day makes the scheduling process easier.”
Incoming honors freshmen enroll in classes Friday afternoon, but still participate in the other Priority Enrollment Day activities on Saturday.
“Having succeeded in high school, having a GPA and ACT scores that qualify them for the honors program and going through the application process for the honors program gives them that added benefit of being able to enroll a day earlier,” Anderson said.
“They will come back on Saturday morning for the registration, the welcome, the orientation, to get their student ID cards printed and all of that,” he said.
“So, they overlap both of the days, but we do the academic advising and actual enrollment on Friday.”
Priority Enrollment Day is a day-long event, starting early and ending late.
“The day officially starts at 8 o’clock, which means realistically that admissions staff and other personnel are here at 7 in the morning on that Saturday,” Anderson said.
“The last session of academic advising finishes up at 5:30 which means that again people are here at least until 6, 6:30 taking care of the last straggle of students and then there’s tear down and wrapping things up,” he said.
“For some people it’s an extremely early start to the day and an extremely late end to the day; [for] others of us it’s a long day, but it’s not as long as it is for them.”
OBU has hosted this event for eight years, but similar events have been hosted going back two decades.
“We’ve been conducting it in its current format since 2010 but it has existed in various forms for almost 20 years,” Perkins said.
Priority Enrollment Day takes place Saturday, April 28.