This month the Graduate School wrapped up its fifth annual Visitation Days program, which gives prospective students from underrepresented groups a glimpse not only of graduate education at UGA, but also of the culture on campus and even in Athens itself.
More than 40 participants traveled from California, Illinois, New York and South Florida, in addition to various cities in Georgia, to get acquainted with the university and departments of interest. During their stay, the students visited with faculty members, attended informational sessions with current graduate students and toured the campus and surrounding community. Informal social activities promoted friendships that these students can continue should they choose to seek advanced degrees at UGA.
“We want to give these students an idea of what graduate education is like at UGA, what we can offer them and how we’re really interested in them,” says Curtis Byrd, director of recruitment and retention at the Graduate School. “Plus, it helps to know that you’ll have friends waiting for you when you come back next fall as a graduate student here.”
UGA President Michael F. Adams addressed the group at a breakfast held on the last day of the program, further emphasizing that the faculty and administration value and actively recruit a diverse student body at all levels of study at the university.
“We hope that these students will go back to their institutions with a favorable impression of UGA, one that they’ve been able to make firsthand,” says Maureen Grasso, dean of the Graduate School. “Sometimes seeing is believing, and by coming in person, the students begin to see themselves here and that, combined with our academic reputation, gets them excited about graduate study at UGA.”
The Visitation Days program is part of the “seamless” recruiting effort practiced by the Graduate School, which includes myriad recruiting programs before students enroll and supportive mentoring ones with faculty and seasoned graduate students after they begin classes. Forty percent of the 2004 Visitation Days participants are enrolled this fall at UGA.