Who better to help high school seniors get off to a great start in college than some high-energy PSU students who not that long ago sat in the same seats today’s incoming freshmen occupy?
That’s the philosophy behind Pitt C.A.R.E.S. (Campus Advisement, Registration and Enrollment Sessions) at Pittsburg State University.
“We have some great Pitt C.A.R.E.S. counselors,” said Jon Bartlow, associate director of admission. “They put together their own skits and work hard to get even shy students to get involved.”
The fact that the counselors are not much older than the new freshmen gives them some credibility with students, Bartlow said.
“The incoming freshmen know that the counselors were in their shoes not that long ago,” Bartlow said, “so it carries some weight when the counselors give them advice about how to be successful in college.”
Ryan Pittsenbarger, a senior from Lamar, Mo., said he remembers going through C.A.R.E.S. as an incoming freshman.
“I remember telling my mom, ‘I will never do anything like this!’” Pittsenbarger said. “Now this is my third year doing Pitt the C.A.R.E.S. and I love it!”
Another C.A.R.E.S. counselor, Kiki Eigenmann, from Carthage, Mo., said she enjoys doing skits that sometimes tackle serious issues.
“We perform the skits and then talk about them in small-group sessions,” Eigenmann said. “They are based on things that are major issues on campus such as safety and time management.”
It is in the small-group sessions that the new students can get answers to some of their most pressing questions.
The most commonly asked question?
“When will I find out who my roommate is?” said Pittsenbarger.
At the same time that incoming freshmen are learning about college life, their parents and extended families are learning, too. For them, C.A.R.E.S. leaders talk about financial aid, campus safety and how to help their student be successful.
Before the day is out, the students meet with an academic adviser, get enrolled and even have their student IDs made.
“Pitt C.A.R.E.S. is an important first step toward a successful college career,” Bartlow said. “We give the students a lot of information, but just as important, we give them a chance to meet people, ask questions and begin to get acquainted with the campus.”
Pitt C.A.R.E.S. are scheduled for Mondays and Fridays through June, with an additional session on Wednesday, June 27. For information, call the Office of Admission, 620-235-4251 or visit their website, http://www.pittstate.edu/admission/