High school student Hays McDonnell, hailing from Memphis, Tennessee, said he was amazed by the beauty of Elon’s campus when he visited Oct. 6. According to Hays, once he and his family stepped foot onto campus, they had nothing but praise.
“This is the nicest campus I’ve been on, and I don’t think I’ll see one much better than that,” McDonnell said.
Ethan Beckers, another high school student from Charlotte, said he found himself most impressed by Elon’s community. Beckers said he was both surprised and relieved to feel that the community wasn’t as overbearing as other colleges.
“People were very much here to learn, to engage with the community,” Beckers said. “It also wasn’t intimidating like a lot of other colleges are.”
Joel Goldberg, a visiting parent from Boston, also said he found the academic side of Elon very appealing.
“I was very impressed,” Goldberg said. “I really enjoyed how examples of experiential learning are sprinkled throughout in a real practical way, and the tour guide provided a lot of information for how classes are taught and how students are treated as whole beings.”
Becker’s mother, Andrea, credited their experiences at Elon to their tour guides, who showed them around campus and answered all of their questions.
“Our tour guide on the one-on-one was fantastic,” Beckers said. “We were able to get all our questions answered, and she customized the tour a little bit so that we could see anything that pertained to what his potential major is. She was very professional, very polite, very personable. So we enjoyed the time that she gave us.”
When giving tours, senior Valentina Echavarria said she presents Elon as a tight-knit campus where students will find friends and community.
“I hope to give my visitors an impression of a beautiful campus that has a lively community,” Echavarria said. “That’s how I try to portray Elon. This is a campus where you can feel safe and feel welcomed.”
Tour guides not only show visitors around campus, but present it in a way that makes Elon look appealing, according to Echavarria. This also includes talking about academics and campus life.
However, Echavarria said one concern she has about Elon is that there is nothing to do. As part of her job, she said tour guides talk about Phoenix Connect and the Student Union Board, which are constantly posting events for the community.
“There’s events everywhere at all times,” Echavarria said. “If you look at Core Q or Phoenix Connect, you will find events every single day.”
According to Greg Zaiser, Vice President for Enrollment, another aspect emphasized during prospective student tours is Elon’s academics. Zaiser said Elon makes sure visitors know that education at Elon has a large hands-on component, as well as a student-faculty ratio of 11:1.
“We focus on engaged, experiential learning from day one,” Zaiser wrote in an email to Elon News Network.
Above all else, Echavarria said the most important thing in presenting Elon is to be honest and have a positive attitude. This way, she said if people ask about the downsides of Elon, tour guides can refrain from lying while also still trying to bring a positive spin to the conversation.
“So even if I’ve gotten questions where people asked me, ‘What do you not like about Elon?’ I try to keep my response positive as well,” Echavarria said.
At the moment, Elon has an undergraduate enrollment of around 6,000 students — a 13% increase from the 5200 undergraduate students it had roughly a decade ago in 2012. According to the Registrar's report, Elon sees an increase of roughly 100 students each year. Therefore, as Elon’s student body grows in size, new dorms such as the one being built in East neighborhood are being constructed in order to accommodate new incoming students.
This growth can be accredited to how Elon is portrayed to potential students, according to Zaiser. The admissions office communicates with high schools on how students can apply. Zaiser wrote that admissions also attends high school presentations, college fairs, panels and one-on-one meetings with interested students.
“We host a variety of on-campus and off-campus programs at different times of the year to address student interest in applying and enrolling,” Zaiser wrote.
According to Zaiser, Elon receives the most students from the East coast — from Massachusetts to Florida, although admissions from western states such as California, Texas and Colorado have been growing as well.
Zaiser also wrote that visitors find a variety of parts of Elon appealing, such as the university’s study abroad program. Yet, Zaiser said word of mouth is the largest factor in getting families’ attention.
“Students talk about their Elon experiences very positively,” Zaiser wrote. “That’s very real and relatable.”
By the end of their tours, many visiting students said that they would be considering Elon in their college application process.