UHCL The Signal
The official student newspaper of the University of Houston-Clear Lake

UHCL is in the house

Students learn about campus and programs at Open House event

Jeffry Tupa

The Signal Staff
Dominique Dawson, Brittany Burnett and Jasmin Ferguson attended UHCL’s Open House from Victory Early College High School.
Dominique Dawson, Brittany Burnett and Jasmin Ferguson attended UHCL’s Open House from Victory Early College High School.

The University of Houston-Clear Lake provided an opportunity for prospective students and their family members to learn more about the programs and services offered by the university at its Oct. 3 Open House. Application fees were waived for students who submitted applications for admission while in attendance.

“It is an open invitation for prospective students and their family to come,” said Yvette Bendeck, associate vice president of enrollment management. “This is really an event atmosphere where support services and academic programs have representation to talk to people so they can really come and do it all and, if they are interested, they can apply on that day and have no fee assessed.”

Prospective students crowded every hall and open space on campus.

“It is really great so far,” said Michael Merta, a student from San Jacinto Community College-South Campus. “They welcomed me in and they know what they are doing. I got to talk first hand to all the advisors out here. These are actual professors here and it sounds like they know exactly what I can do here to get my degree. I feel like I am already a student here and I am planning to come fall 2010.”

Open House, held in the fall and spring semesters, brings the most students to campus on a single day. Other recruitment efforts at UHCL include year-round campus tours and admission previews on campus.

“On a regular basis, we have a presence at the community college by sending enrollment counselors and transfer advisers to go out there on a regular basis,” Bendeck said. “We participate in all the TACRAO events [Texas Association of Collegiate Registrar and Admissions Office].”

The enrollment management of UHCL also makes personal contact and follows up on people who visit UHCL Web site.

“Even if the Web is a vehicle to do all your business, ultimately it is the personal relationship in how a prospective student feels that will make the difference on whether or not they feel that this is a good fit for them,” Bendeck said.

Some of the participants at Open House included TRiO groups and dual enrollment/early college students from local high schools and community colleges.

“TRiO is an outreach program at the community college for students who are in need of extra help, usually first-generation college students,” said Lori Lopez, special events coordinator in the Office of Admission. “We are trying to invite those prospective students to show that we also offer the same support services.”

UHCL has three students at UHCL from the dual enrollment/early college program this year. One of them is entering as young as 17 years old.

“We did actively peruse the early college high schools,” Bendeck said. “There are a segment of early college high schools’ prospective students that are coming to campus. We have admitted this fall our first early college high school student into our campus.”
The Open House had a big turnout the day before the event there were about 850 RSVPs; Lopez said is was “definitely the highest it has ever been.”

“Well, I thought that I got a good work out, thought I lost a couple pounds, you know, because the classes are so far apart,” said Jasmin Ferguson, a student from Victory Early College High School. “It was very educational, if you sit and listen. They are really talking about some deep stuff.”
UHCL enrollment is up 0.2 percent in headcount and up 2 percent in student credit hours for this fall.

“The headcount is relatively flat, but the hours went up,” Bendeck said. “Our mix is 56 percent undergraduate and 44 percent graduate students, which is not the norm in a lot of institutions. So, you get to experience the fact that you are connected more; you have the opportunity to interact with more graduate students outside the classroom.”

Because UHCL is an upper level university, undergraduates complete their junior and senior years here, which is about 60 hours as opposed to 120 hours at other institutions.

“When we recruit, we know that we are going to get our transfer students basically from the community colleges,” Bendeck said. “But with graduate students, it’s a little bit different because it requires a far more intensive reaching out.”