OLYMPIA - About 700 prospective students and their parents attended preview day at The Evergreen State College on Saturday, giving them a chance to learn more about the four-year state school and its programs.
The all-day event was kicked off in true Evergreen style as President Les Purce sang the Geoducks fight song to welcome visitors, earning him a standing ovation, said Clarisse Leong, associate director of admissions. Purce sings the song every year, she said.
The geoduck, a giant clam native to Puget Sound, is the school’s mascot and nickname.
Other events Saturday included tours of campus and housing and student panels, where parents and their high school-age children could question enrolled students about the Evergeen experience. That’s where Kevin McNabb spent part of his day, listening to what others had to say about the school.
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A senior at Nathan Hale High School in Seattle, McNabb is considering Evergreen and three other schools.
He likes the fact that Evergreen doesn’t issue letter grades but gives students written evaluations. That appeals to McNabb because although he is quick to grasp and understand concepts, he doesn’t test very well, he said. McNabb is interested in computer science and psychology and planned to visit the computer center later in the day.
One of the students helping to answer questions was “student ambassador” Karl Anderson, a freshman at Evergreen. Anderson, originally from West Virginia, previously went to a boarding school in Maryland where he was required to wear a uniform and tie and play three sports a year. Although he enjoyed his time there, he was ready for a different type of experience by the time he was about to graduate.
Anderson said he answered a lot of questions about what students can expect at Evergreen. In his view, he said, the school offers a true education, one that explores different viewpoints and really practices what it preaches. “You’re going to get an in-depth, well-rounded education,” he said.
In addition to the student panels, about 40 people toured the campus in the afternoon, getting a chance to see library and seminar buildings, as well as the recently renovated college activities building – Evergreen’s version of a student union. It is home to the radio station KAOS 89.3 FM, as well as the bookstore, a cafe and the student newspaper, The Cooper Point Journal.
Associate director of admissions Leong said most of Saturday’s visitors were from Washington, but they also came from Oregon, California, Washington, D.C., Virginia and Illinois. About one-third were planning to transfer from a community college; others were high school students.
Stephen Rancourt of Boise took part in the tour with his parents, Wayne and Wendy. Rancourt said he is considering transferring from Boise State University in search of a less traditional college experience. His parents, meanwhile, were impressed, saying they liked the idea of smaller class sizes and the personal feel to education at Evergreen. They also were impressed with the president singing the fight song.
“There’s clearly a joy in being here, and that comes through,” Wayne said.
Stephen still was processing his decision, but so far Evergreen seemed promising, he said.