October 25, 2011By Jennifer Willis
Everyone knows that first impressions are important. Because of this, GCU has pulled out all the stops when it comes to welcoming prospective students to campus for the first time.
The Antelope Reception Center in the northwest corner of the new Arena has been designed to ensure that prospective students and their families have the best first impression of the University.
"When a student is coming to GCU for the first time, we want to make sure we've rolled out the 'purple carpet' for them," says Shannon Landers, director of the ARC. "This is going to be the first part of campus they see."
|A lot of work has gone in to making sure that this is the best possible experience. Landers and Helen Bleach, GCU's senior director of University Relations and Campus Events, became interior decorators, picking out the wood flooring, the couches, and the tables and chairs for the meeting stations.
"It's been a lot of fun," Landers says. "There are still a few finishing touches, but I love how it's all turned out."
The ARC is beautiful and welcoming. Its purpose is to be a VIP-style area where enrollment counselors can meet with potential students. Tours will leave from the center every hour on the hour, and iPads are available for students to fill out applications on the spot.
With 25 work stations available, the center hopes to have at least 80 appointments a day. Because of this, it is intended for enrollment purposes only.
"We've had people asking if they can book meetings in here, and unfortunately the answer is no," Landers says. "Our goal is to have our tables full at all times. If we start renting it out for other purposes, then we're taking away from enrollment, which is what it was designed for."
Enrollment counselors can book appointments online, although walk-ins are accepted as well. To go along with the VIP theme, if a prospect has pre-booked an appointment, their name will be displayed on the video board in a giant welcome as they walk into the Arena.
The ARC is one of the first of its kind in the country.
"We've become a sort of pilot program," Landers says. "Other universities, such as USC and UCLA, are looking at what we've done to possibly do something similar. Centers like these are the future of enrollment."
Reserved parking spots are located out front for those coming to appointments, and Landers says the ARC eventually will have a valet service where prospects will be picked up in golf carts and escorted to the center for their appointment.
"Our hope is that when prospective students come see us," she says, "they feel like we've given them the famous Disneyland hospitality."
Hours of operation for the ARC are:
The schedule for campus and Arena tours is:
Tours can be scheduled by emailing email@example.com or by showing up on the hour.