It is a campus visit day at Dordt, and the Eckardt Lounge is filled with laughter, the scent of fresh coffee, and brightly-decorated tables in black and gold. Parents and high school students mingle with admissions counselors, sipping coffee and snacking on breakfast treats.
Eventually everyone finds their seat, and President Erik Hoekstra makes his way to the front of the room.
“Welcome to your campus visit day for Dordt University at Dordt College,” he jokes, alluding to the upcoming move to university.
Later, Aaron Baart, dean of chapel, reminds students to enter the college search process confidently.
“The one who loves you more than you know is going before you,” he says. “Whether that leads you to Dordt or elsewhere, know that we are all part of this grand, beautiful kingdom that is breaking in.”
“I love how friendly everyone is,” says Shane Van Essen, a high school student who visited from Edgerton, Minnesota, with his parents Jeremy and Kimber, who are Dordt alumni. “They all care about where you’re from and what you’re interested in, and they give you advice for the future.”
“I’m amazed at how much this place has changed since I went here,” says Jeremy. “The facilities are phenomenal, especially compared to when we attended.”
The campus visit experience runs from Thursday night through the weekend. Student ambassadors take high school students through dorms and coffee shops, then to Thursday night Praise and Worship, giving them a feel for the spiritual climate. Many stay overnight in the dorms, since on-campus living is such a big part of the experience. On Friday they attend a presentation, grab lunch in the Commons, and take a campus tour.
“From the moment they arrive on campus to the moment they leave, we want high school students and their families to feel welcome,” says Jade Van Holland, an admissions counselor.
One meaningful part of the campus visit day is when high school students and their parents sit down with faculty members to talk through a specific program or major. Dr. Tim Van Soelen, an education professor, says that he likes to talk with families about how Dordt’s education program helps students foster a love for who they teach, what they teach, and how to teach.
“I want them to see Dordt and my department as places where they can continue to discover and uncover the calling God has for them,” says Van Soelen.
High school students and their parents come from all over the country and the world for a Dordt campus visit. Dordt admissions works hard to ensure that these students feel at home and truly experience what it’s like to attend Dordt.
“The important piece is experiencing what the people are like,” says Greg Van Dyke, director of admissions. “Creating that feeling of home in a place where you’re going to belong, grow, and be transformed during your two or four years on campus—that’s what we’re striving for.”