April 2, 2012
Students get taste of college life
SUNY Cortland opens its doors to prospective freshmen
Saturday afternoon provided Conrad Ziemendorf with a glimpse of what life could be like next year at SUNY Cortland.
Touring campus with his parents, Kurt and Colette, the tall senior from Webster’s Schroeder High School looked around Park Center, where he might spend time next year as a baseball player.
The family then rode a bus to Corey Union with 40 other people and toured a residence hall.
About 1,400 people visited the campus Saturday as part of admissions open house, as SUNY Cortland played host to high school students who have been accepted for admission — like Ziemendorf — or who were simply looking at colleges.
Admissions staff said 870 students registered, and all had at least one parent with them.
Visitors could tour campus for 90 minutes or tour a residence hall for 30 minutes. They could eat at Corey Union or in downtown Cortland, talk to college staff about academic majors or costs or anything else they needed to know, get a feel for the campus and students.
The college has campus tours Monday through Saturday through the academic year, but this annual open house allows hundreds of people to come to campus at once. The admissions office increases its student tour guides from the regular 18 who give tours throughout the academic year, to 60 for the day, said Jose Feliciano, associate director of admissions.
Ziemendorf has been accepted at SUNY Cortland and said he plans to enroll, after also being accepted at St. John Fisher College in suburban Rochester. He is a pitcher and first baseman for his high school baseball team.
“I’m looking at price, and I want to get away from home,” he said. He is unsure what he will major in.
“He’s interested in exercise science but that was full,” said his father. Students do not declare a major until sophomore year but often have a major in mind as freshmen.
Conrad’s older brother Kolby is a sophomore at Clarkson University and plays baseball there.
The family toured Randall Hall, a residence hall, and briefly visited a double room occupied by women and a triple room occupied by men, two of whom lounged on their beds, watching TV. A man asked them how three people living in one room has worked out, and they said fine.
The Ziemendorfs asked a residence hall director and several students whether Conrad could have a fellow baseball player as a roommate, since he hopes to play baseball for the Red Dragons.
Many colleges pair up athletes from the same team as roommates, because their schedules will be the same and they will have something in common.
SUNY Cortland does not place students in the same room because they are on the same team, but incoming freshmen can request other freshmen as roommates, students told Conrad. They can be friends from home, or sports teammates, or enrolled in the same major.
The Ziemendorfs planned to watch SUNY Cortland’s baseball team play SUNY Plattsburgh. The college’s softball and men’s lacrosse teams had home games as well.
Waiting at Park Center for the bus to the residence hall tour, West Genesee High School senior Brittney Spinelli said she was considering SUNY Cortland along with Le Moyne College, Syracuse University and Coastal Carolina, which is in Conway, S.C.
She is interested in becoming an attorney.
“Since she was little, she always wanted to be a criminal lawyer,” said her mother, Irene.
Brittney Spinelli said she liked SUNY Cortland because it was far from home but not too far, where Coastal Carolina is a 10-hour drive.
Feliciano said the tricky part is logistics, as the campus becomes congested. Multiple tour groups mix with students who live on campus and with people in town for the athletic events.
“Some people might be doing our open house and then another one today,” he said.
Feliciano said the admissions tours visit two residence halls, Fitzgerald Hall and Glass Tower Hall, during regular weekday tours, to show parents and prospective students a variety of rooms.
“Our goal is they get their questions answered and they get to experience the life of a Cortland student on campus,” Feliciano said.
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