Biola admissions hosts first Admitted Student Day since the pandemic

In response to a greater need to support admitted students’ mental health, Biola admissions incorporated a first-ever student wellness panel.

Amanda Frese, Managing Editor

On April 11, admitted students observed classes and toured Biola’s campus for the first Admitted Student Day since 2019. Hosted by Traditional Undergraduate Admissions and Torrey Honors College, Admitted Student Day commenced at 8 a.m. and ended at 4 p.m. The full-day event included academic department open houses, a dinner for First Generation students, enrollment resources—and for the first time—a student wellness panel. 

THE PANDEMIC’S IMPACT 

Associate Director of Campus Visits, Events and Student Ambassadors Heather Davenport stated that Admitted Student Day’s return to an in-person format felt celebratory, since it was one of the first events canceled at the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020. 

“This is our first Admitted Student Day back in person since COVID,” Davenport said. “Admitted Student Day of 2020 was one of the first events that we didn’t get to do and that we had to do virtually, so getting to do it in person this year has just been just a joy to get to.”

However, without in-person events, committing to a university proved a difficult task for prospective students. According to Davenport, the inability to watch high school upperclassmen choose a university impacted underclassmen’s knowledge of the admittance process. 

“I think especially for juniors and seniors in high school they didn’t get to see seniors going off to college or going to college visits,” Davenport said. “I feel like they are feeling really unprepared for how to navigate going to college and what that looks like, especially if they haven’t had a sibling or anyone close to them go before them.” 

STUDENT WELLNESS PANEL

Recognizing a greater need to come alongside prospective students during the transition into higher education, Davenport shared that Biola admissions counselors reflected on information from high school guidance counselors about the need for mental health support. 

“I think the pandemic has put all of us in a mentally unwell place at times, but adding a huge life transition on top of that is just a lot,” Davenport said. “So, just wanting to inform students that we have resources at Biola and that we want to make them aware of that, from the start, I think is really important.” 

In understanding this need, administrative assistant Debrianna Debolt organized the Wellbeing Tips and Tricks for the College Transition panel with Peer Wellness Ambassadors to discuss spiritual, physical and cultural well-being. Their goal was to provide admitted students with resources to engage relationally during their transition into Biola. 

“We spoke on each area of wellness and what it looks like to take care of yourself as you transition to college. We feel that it’s crucial to think about your wellness in a time where there is so much change and transition,” Debolt stated in an email. “It’s so important to give yourself grace and patience as you enter into a community.”

LOOKING FORWARD TO COMMUNITY 

Brooke Cummings, a high school senior from Shafter, California who plans to attend Biola in Fall 2022 as a communications studies major, explained that attending Admissions Day in person allowed her to receive a better understanding of Biola’s community and environment.

“The pandemic has made me think more about what possibilities I have. Now that the pandemic is done—hopefully—and we can go back to somewhat of a normal, it’s definitely made a little bit of a difference,” Cummings said. “Feeling the environment and getting to know this is where I am going is exciting.” 

However, Dean of Student Wellness Lisa Igram recognized that this transition, though exciting, may cause anxieties for students as they enter a fully in-person community at the university following the global pandemic. 

“Transitions can be both exciting and anxiety-provoking,” Igram stated in an email. “Given all we’ve faced the last few years, we thought it valuable to provide space for future students to consider how to care for their relational, emotional, spiritual and other aspects of their well-being as they come to campus.”

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