It was a small taste of what was to come.

“I had never visited campus before,” said Brittany Werts, an admissions counselor and 2009 Elon graduate. “I’m originally from California, so North Carolina is obviously very different. It was an opportunity for me to see a classroom and see what that was like, and I met another student from the West Coast. I had not yet decided (on Elon) and it helped facilitate the decision.”

Werts attended a Phoenix Friday, an event designed to give potential students a taste of Elon student life, before choosing the school in 2005.

Ninety-six prospective students saw college life through the eyes of those currently enrolled in Elon University during a Phoenix Friday event April 13. Those in the Elon community invovled with Phoenix Friday aim to entice prospective students to chose to attend Elon.

Werts now partners with Ashley Pearson, a fellow admissions counselor, Elon graduate and assistant director of Admissions, to give prospective students the same experience she had by coordinating five Phoenix Fridays each year. After arriving on campus, the students attend a mock Global Experience class and had lunch with a currently enrolled student.

“Elon’s population has grown, and the events themselves have grown,” Werts said. “But one thing that has not changed is the personal touch that the students feel when they come to campus.”

Although the academic experience at Elon is emphasized on Phoenix Fridays, student life is the main focus, according to sophomore Sarah Wells, who volunteered to have lunch with students.

“We want to introduce (prospective) students to the Elon community,” Wells said. “We want to show them what we do in our down time. It’s a less formal way to show the school.”

The casual atmosphere of Phoenix Fridays allows prospective students to let their guard down and assess the university from a more genuine perspective, she said.

Nevertheless, the goal is to advertise the school.

[quote]We want to introduce (prospective) students to the Elon community,” Wells said. “We want to show them what we do in our down time. It’s a less formal way to show the school. —sophomore Sarah Wells, Phoenix Friday volunteer[/quote]

“We want to show them that (Elon) is better than other universities,” said junior Michael Soucy, who participated in a variety of skits about student life during “The Advising Advantage,” a presentation shown to prospective students at the end of the afternoon.

Some prospective students aren’t entirely sure, though, that Elon is the right school for them, and Phoenix Fridays provides another avenue to learn about the institution. High school senior Jackie Peiffer was accepted to both Elon and Clemson University, and before attending Friday’s event, she said she was more inclined to commit to the latter. But after experiencing a bit of Elon’s campus life, her preference became less certain.

“After today, I really feel comfortable here,” Peiffer said. “I’m still not sure, but (the day) definitely (made) me put Elon more into the picture a lot more than I had.”