366 prospective students attend Mustangs Rally

Amanda Bergstrom, incoming business marketing freshman, signs up for more information from the cheerleading squad during the organization fair part of Mustangs Rally held in D.L. Ligon Coliseum on Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017. “I loved the large faculty here, and the faculty to student ratio [17:1]. I love how the professors really want to know you and how you are not just another number,” Bergstrom said. Photo by Rachel Johnson

The admissions office organized the fall 2017 Mustangs Rally where prospective students were introduced to the university on Oct. 28.

George Castro, admissions counselor, said the goal of Mustangs Rally is to help the prospective students understand MSU more.

“We hope that students leave with a better understanding of the university,” Castro said. “If this university is from their backyard or they just heard about us at a college fair, they will feel a welcoming environment and a level of acceptance that would get them interested in becoming a Mustang.”

The recruitment event encourages prospective students, and Gayonne Beavers, director of admissions, said it’s usually a successful event both in the fall and spring.

“They are very large recruitment opportunities for us because the yield rate that we get from these particular events is pretty high,” Beavers said. “What that means is that a majority of the students that will come to a Mustangs Rally will end up enrolling here at MSU.”

At 10 a.m., the prospective students were also given tours of the campus by the student ambassadors. Leia De La Garza, criminal justice junior, said the students’ favorite aspect about the college is the water fountain next to Dillard College of Business, but questions about the campus in general are often mentioned.

“I tell them that it is under 24-hour surveillance because a few years ago a student put soap in it as a prank,” Garza said. “The school doesn’t want that to happen again. Students always enjoy hearing that story. A lot of people had questions about commuting around campus. Since we are such a small community, you can get anywhere within five to seven minutes.”

That sense of small town connection is found in each organization on campus, and according to Mario Ramirez, interim director of student involvement, the changes of this semester’s Mustangs Rally included the increase in the size of the tables of student organizations as well as moving the student services table.

“Ever year admissions tries to make it more exciting and appealing to students,” Ramirez said. “Changing it a little bit to make it a student organization tables bigger and moving the student services table created a different flow to things.”

One of the student organizations that were most popular included the Sigma Lambda Alpha sorority. Alaska Corrillo, pre-med biology junior and vice president of Sigma Lambda Alpha, explained the core values of the sorority. She said about 35 prospective students were interested in being a part of Sigma Lambda Alpha.

“We have four pillars — cultural awareness, community service, academic achievement, and sisterhood,” Corrillo said. “We focus on all those four pillars. We’re involved in a lot of community service.”

Zaquera Wallace, pre-vet and biology junior and treasure of People Respecting the Identity and Diversity of Everyone organization, said her favorite experience at Mustangs Rally was reaching out to prospective students.

The exposure the recruitment event brings exposes potential students to the benefits on campus, and Zayra Maiato, mass communication sophomore and managing chair of PRIDE, said her friend was introduced to PRIDE at the Mustangs Rally.

“She wasn’t really sure about the whole college experience and seeing the PRIDE members offering her support made her chose MSU,” Maiato said. “I remembered her texting me on campus saying that there was a PRIDE group on campus and everyone there was very nice.”

According to Ramirez, student organizations are one of the many reasons why prospective students should consider enrolling.

“There are so many different organizations that you can be a part of that will help you grow as a leader and help you pursue your career,” Ramirez said.

Students were introduced to the different colleges and to the resources available to accommodate each major. With 49 undergraduate programs, Phillip H. Wilson, graduate coordinator and associate professor of marketing, said the Dillard College of Business had a large turnout of prospective students during the tour guide like many of the other colleges on campus.

Wilson said that his favorite experiences at the Mustangs Rally were meeting students who are passionate about pursuing a degree in business as well as their parents.

“I particularly like is when the parents recognize the importance of different disciplines,” Wilson said. “I’m a marketing guy, and they understand how important marketing is. I enjoy when the parents come with the students, so they have can see that Wichita Falls is a good place, Dillard is a good place and Midwestern is a great place.”

As a liberal arts university, MSU offers a variety of opportunities for students to travel and experience other cultures, and Brandy Jolliff-Scott, assistant professor of political science and global studies, said sharing her cultural experiences is her favorite part about recruitment events.

“I liked telling them about internship and study abroad opportunities,” Jolliff-Scott said. “We also talked about Model United Nations. We really got to drive home how much the faculty cares about students.”

According to Castro, many students are fascinated by the 17-to-1 student to professor ratio. This provides a stronger connection between students and their professors.

“We offer a small classroom environment,” Castro said. “Students have the opportunity to get to know their professor and professors will get the opportunity to know their students and invest more time in them.”

Castro said his favorite experience was seeing the different student organizations, offices and colleges working together to make this event successful.

“It’s been a great experience,” Castro said. “It has been really encouraging to know how many organizations and offices within the university team up together to help pull off this event and are willing to make themselves available to help prospective students receive the information they need in order to make the right decision on where to attend college.”

Despite the consistent attendance, Beavers said the spring Mustangs Rally event is usually larger than the one in the fall.

“We have a total of 366 people who have attended,” Beavers said. “That’s just the nature of the recruitment cycle and the nature of these events. Whenever you compare this one to the last fall’s event, we are very similar in size.”

While this semester’s Mustangs Rally was “very successful,” Beavers and Ramirez said they look forward to updating how the event is organized to enhance the prospective students’ experience.

“We’ve talked to a lot of students that were juniors and seniors that are really interested in coming to MSU,” Ramirez said. “We kind of reaffirmed them by talking to them about what we have to offer to them.”