UCCS appeals to prospective students in different ways

Feb. 25, 2013

Alexander Nedd
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Despite the hundreds of majors or career paths students choose, those on campus have at least one thing in common: They are Mountain Lions.

While natives may take the campus for granted, it may not be easily forgotten by visitors and prospective students who help keep enrollment at a record high.

UCCS has been ranked one of the best universities in the West, according to U.S. News & World Report. But what keeps the university attractive to a growing number of students? How does the campus look through the eyes of new scholars?

Ralph Giese, director of Residence Life and Housing, weighed in on why enrollment is at an all-time high. “I think that UCCS is becoming a first-choice school for many,” he said.

“There is excellent teaching and opportunities for involvement. It’s small enough to be a part of the community and large enough to be a large university.”

Last semester, a record 9,850 students attended the university, a 6 percent increase from the previous year.

The class that continues to grow the most is students attending UCCS for the first time: freshmen. Almost 1,500 new faces were added for 2012, an 8 percent jump from 2011.

It’s a trend that doesn’t show signs of slowing down as the campus adds two additional dorm halls for freshmen. Construction has already begun, and the residence halls are expected to open their doors next fall.

“It will add 192 beds to campus inventory,” Giese said. “This is in addition to the 148 added at Sunset Creek. It’s really exciting.”

One department that leads the recruitment of students is the Student Service Center. Joey Gargaro, who has been a student ambassador for three years, helps guide students during one of the most important steps of gaining students: the tour.

“It’s really important; I don’t believe people should choose a college until they see it,” Gargaro said.  “I try to give as much personal background for students to get a good feel.”

The tour proves vital, as first impressions are important and hard to forget, said Gargaro.

The tour highlights some of the best aspects of UCCS and visually helps differentiate the campus from other universities.

Claire Rafgusin, a prospective student from Highlands Ranch, enjoyed the tour. “I really liked how [UCCS] was environmentally friendly – that was my favorite thing,” she said.

Rafgusin also plans on touring Pikes Peak Community College but has not ruled out attending UCCS. “I could see myself here,” she said.

Jonna Castronas, a nutrition major hopeful, was impressed with her desired program on campus. “I really liked their nutrition program, and lot of my classmates and friends go here already.”

Jared Cohn flew from his hometown of Carlsbad, Calif., to tour local universities. “I’m really outdoorsy and thought the mountains would be a cool place and thought Colorado would be a good fit,” Cohn said. “I really liked the Recreation Center.”

For many, UCCS fits their lifestyle.

“I think it’s just great for the people that go here,” Giese said. “[There are] so many different experiences here; it really enriches our campus community.”