SRU’s Opportunities Knocks welcomes minority students
(From left) Mike May, Slippery Rock University director of undergraduate recruitment and admissions, speaks with Victoria Coleman, a sophomore from Erie, Danielle Carrell, a freshman from Lordstown, Ohio, and Emily Murasso, a senior from Hazlet, New Jersey about their roles as “Pride Guides” for the Opportunity Knocks program.
Feb. 20, 2016
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - It's a common scenario: a high school senior opens a letter congratulating them on being been admitted to the college of their choice. Then another acceptance letter comes in from a different institution, followed by a third and a fourth - what to do, what to do?
Sometimes the student just needs just a little more information to help them make their choice. Organizers of Slippery Rock University's Feb. 21-22 Opportunity Knocks program hope their event will help more than 50 underrepresented minority students choose SRU. The overnight program gives attendees a taste of of academic, social and residential life, with a built-in friend. Fifty SRU undergraduates serve as "hosts."
This year's theme is "Luau - Make a Splash at SRU."
Invited students, from Pennsylvania and Ohio, are those who have been accepted at SRU but have not made a final decision to enroll. The program is free to participants.
"Opportunity Knocks is a wonderful showcase of Slippery Rock University, and what we see is about 80 percent of Opportunity Knocks students ultimately enroll in the fall," said Mike May, director of undergraduate recruitment and admissions.
May said the program begins the evening of Feb. 21 with a Luau Dinner, followed by a Rock STARS talent show in the Smith Student Center and a "Rave-A-Palooza" nightcap in the ARC.
Feb. 22, Opportunity Knocks students will attend ceramics and other classes, have lunch with a professor and then participate in a panel discussion with current students.
Those attending will spend the night in one of SRU's residence halls and learn more about scholarship and financial aid opportunities. The program also introduces them to service-learning opportunities and athletics at SRU.
May said one of the important elements of Opportunity Knocks is connecting attendees with undergraduates in the same major as the prospects, giving them an added sense of belonging.
May said some minority students experience challenges adapting to a majority college and often are transitioning from an urban home area.
"We're really trying to address some of those issues and give a good idea of the real positive aspects here," May said. "Many of these students are first-generation students to attend college, so we're just welcoming them to the college environment."
One of the goals of the program is help students realize that asking for help is good. "I always tell students there are a lot resources here," he said.
While enrollment drives an institution's solvency and is the "revenue portion," May said Opportunity Knocks fosters student success.
The "big mission" purpose is to not only enrolling students at SRU, but to graduate them prepared to be successful in their work, their lives and to be better citizens.
"We have the wonderful opportunity of educating students from this region who will stay in this region and make the future better for all us," he said. "So part of that is trying to bring in a really diverse class. Many students are going to be away from home for the first time, meeting students of different backgrounds and experiences and learning to celebrate those differences and not be fearful."
Opportunity Knocks, but it's up to the individual to open the door.
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