“He’s not really feeling it” said a prospective student’s father to sophomore Michael Brower on Sunday, as he promptly grabbed his son’s bags and headed for the door. “Sorry it didn’t work out” the father said as he exited Brower’s dorm room to leave the campus with his wife and son, who were waiting in the car.
After enjoying a pleasant conversation with both the parents and their son less than three hours earlier, having his guest student leave so unexpectedly and wordlessly, hit Brower like a slap in the face. Brower had gone above and beyond the contractual obligations of Vanguard host students, spending valuable study time that morning rearranging his room, making evening plans and even memorizing the Pre-VU schedule to make his guest feel welcome. When the plans fell through, however, Brower turned the other cheek by pursuing other prospective students on campus saying, “I wanted to show them how good Vanguard is.”
While Brower’s experience was unfortunate, this fall’s Pre-VU had a very positive impact on others. Prospective students Aaron Medrano and Jared Diamond shared on Monday that they had had an enjoyable stay. Activities such as a student-led chapel and karaoke connected students in a fun-loving and Christian way. What happens after 11pm, however, can be either prolific or destructive. It is then in the hands of the host students, as ambassadors of Vanguard, to make responsible choices that will compliment Pre-VU’s agenda.
“I enjoyed this school, and would like to see more of it” said Diamond toward the end of his stay. “Everyone seems helpful and all the professors seemed like they want you to pursue your dreams” added Medrano.
Pre-VU’s integration of professor-student interaction also contributes to student’s having a memorable experience at Vanguard. Freshman Josiah Waters recalls his interactions with professors Mildred Yi and Dr. Kenneth Foerch of the Music Department playing a crucial role in his decision to come to Vanguard. This connection ultimately lead him to choose Vanguard over Fresno State University in a last minute decision, a week prior to enrolling for Fresno’s fall classes. Waters was won over by his experience in Vanguard’s authentic Christian environment, despite having experienced a disagreeable PreVU the year before.
Empowering prospective students to make lasting connections on campus is therefore critical to the enrollment process. While uncommon, some prospective students leave Pre-VU feeling disconnected from the community as did Brower’s guest. Still others leave feeling like part of the family and wanting more. While Pre-VU has its ups and downs, one thing is certain, it effectively immerses prospective students into Vanguard’s culture, however good or bad that experience may be. For the most part, PreVU is an effective tool in recruiting new students, since most current students at Vanguard would say they enjoy Vanguard most for its friendly community.