The night was chilly, the air was exhilarating, and excited voices could be heard as students from Providence Christian College gathered outside, prepared to visit the Cheesecake Factory in Pasadena, CA. Their new friends, visitors from Arizona, northern California, Washington, and New Jersey, were about to experience a taste of local culture. Campus visit weekend, the largest at Providence to date, began on Nov. 11, 2011 and ended the following day. Through the work of admissions counselors including Debra Punter, Max Belz, and Tracie Bushnell, many prospective students were able to visit Providence.
During their time at the college, visitors enjoyed a presentation by Dr. Ryan McIlhenny, viewed a short film introducing the entire faculty, and attended chapel with the student body. One exciting event in their schedule was Student Senate Game Night, organized by ruling members of the student body for Friday evening entertainment. Guests were also given the opportunity to pose questions to a four-student panel composed of freshman Sarah Grimes, Dane Beveridge, junior Mark Hogan, and senior Emily Van Dyke. These activities enabled visitors to gain an accurate picture of life at Providence.
Undoubtedly, the guests’ favorite part of the entire weekend was interacting with the student community. According to Nicolaas Van Der Knoop, a sophomore from Arizona: “My favorite part was probably staying up late, hanging out, running around with a few friends, and playing ultimate [frisbee].” Although formal activities were organized for the visitors, the most enjoyable part was simply connecting with the students. By the end of the visit, new acquaintances and friendships had been formed.
During their stay in Pasadena, the visitors also experienced frozen yogurt at a nearby shop and watched films with students in the downstairs lounge. For the guests, the weekend was enjoyable as well as informative. If anything created a lasting impression on both students and visitors, it was the way the community was enriched by lively conversation and genuine camaraderie between visitors and students. Van der Knoop described it this way: “The environment was mind-blowing. Everyone was…part of a family pretty much. No one was excluded, which was great.” By visiting for a few days, the guests were able to experience the day to day feeling of community at Providence.