April 06, 2009


Students check out college

SUNY Cortland’s annual open house draws 900 prospective students

SUNYJoe McIntyre/staff photographer
SUNY Cortland professor Sam Kelley, left, talks with John Warzala and his mother, Peggy, Saturday about the new communication media major offered by the school of communication studies while at SUNY Cortland’s admissions open house for potential students.

Staff Reporter

Prospective students filled SUNY Cortland’s Corey Gymnasium Saturday to see what the school has to offer and, for some undecided students, if the college is a good fit for them.
The open house was geared toward high school seniors who have been accepted, which for the class of 2013 means approximately 1,150 students. Saturday’s event drew 2,800 people, of that number 900 were students, according to the college.
Mike Gordon of Auburn has already decided he will be attending Cortland in the fall.
“It is close to home and has the geographic information systems program I want,” Gordon said as he walked around the crowded gym with his mother.
The competitive sports program that Cortland offers was another draw for Gordon, who is considering joining club sports.
“I came here to get a sense of what next year will be like and the different things the school offers,” Gordon said.
Knowing what SUNY Cortland’s academic and extra-curricular options are is essential for a student to make the right decision when choosing to attend, said Greg Sharer, vice president of student affairs.
“We want students to attend because we offer what they are looking for and they feel comfortable,” Sharer said. “The more information they have ahead of time the more positive feeling they will have when they arrive because they know it is what they expected.”
The current economic crisis was on the minds of students and administrators Saturday.
John Warzala, an accepted student from Schenectady, said he is certain he will attend in the fall.
His mother, Peggy Warzala, said the fact that SUNY Cortland is a state school and therefore more affordable was a large consideration since she has another son in college. She stressed the most important thing was assuring her son felt the college would be a “good fit” and would offer the program he wanted.
Warzala was drawn to SUNY Cortland’s Communications Department, saying he wants to enter the new communication media program to do film and editing. He said he feels like he belongs at the college.
“It is my first choice, I most likely will be coming here,” Warzala said.
Sharer said that during tough economic times people want to be sure they are wisely investing in their children’s future.
The open house is designed to paint an accurate picture of what that investment is, what type of education will be received and how it will help students get a job when they graduate, he said.
The cost of attending SUNY Cortland for the 2009-10 academic year for New York state students is approximately $15,935, which includes tuition, meals, housing and college fees.
For out-of-state students that charge is $22,835. Out-of-state students account for only about 5 percent of the overall student body, said Mark Yacavone, director of admissions.
Yacavone said that given the increase in enrollment in state schools in recent years, which he attributed partly to the bad economy, the college has heightened its selectivity.
“We look at the schools and see what the most rigorous programs are and (if the student) does well in those,” Yacavone said.
Yacavone said about 12,000 freshmen applied this year, a slight increase from the 11,400 who applied this time last year. But that number is significantly higher than the estimated 8,000 applications that would have been received at this time seven years ago, he said.
David Brennan, an incoming freshman from Pulaski, said he will attend Cortland for the athletic training program.
“I knew it was good for its sports program,” Brennan said, adding he will also join some club sports when he enrolls.
Jennifer Hoffman came from Garden City, Long Island, to attend the open house, saying she feels excited to have chosen SUNY Cortland.
“I like the surrounding community and it is a nice campus,” Hoffman said.
Her mother, Trudy Daub-Hoffman, said she liked the historic buildings in town and the friendly people she met. She felt the campus was safe for her daughter.
The affordability of Cortland was a “huge factor,” said Daub-Hoffman.
“She looked at 11 schools and was accepted at all of them. But even with the financial packages they offered it was still exorbitant for us,” she said.
Daub-Hoffman said she and her daughter weighed the expense of attending the schools versus the academic experience at each.
“Would she come out of college with a bill and her life in order? Given the economics and the quality of this school, there was no reason to go anywhere else,” Daub-Hoffman said.


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