08/25/04 — Freshmen arrive at Mount Olive College for orientation

View Archive

Freshmen arrive at Mount Olive College for orientation

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on August 25, 2004 2:00 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- The students have returned to Mount Olive College.

The college has planned a week full of freshman seminars. They're very helpful, says freshman Sarah Finch of Goldsboro.

"I like the smaller groups for the freshmen," said Ms. Finch, who chose Mount Olive College because it's close to home. And it "has a wonderful art program."

"Art is what I wanted to go into," she said, "and I didn't want to go into it at a secular college."

Mount Olive College is officially a "medium- sized school" now, says the vice president of academic affairs, Ellen Jordan. The numbers are in from last year, and the college has topped 3,300 students.

You're medium sized when you have 3,000 students.

As the freshmen get familiar with the campus there are plenty of easy-to-spot people to answer their questions. The answer people wear red T-shirts with a large question mark on the front. Julie Beck directs the student activities at Mount Olive College, and 30 of her assistants are helping the newcomers make the transition from high school.

One of the student assistants, Shenetta Moye of Snow Hill, says they're presenting skits on different parts of the student handbook.

"It's a lot easier on them than it was for me," said Ms. Moye, a senior majoring in business management. She says she chose Mount Olive College to play basketball and softball. "I feel comfortable here. You know everybody. You walk across campus, and somebody yells out your name. You feel at home."

Helping the freshmen "is hard work, but it's been fun," says Tyler Barwick, a sophomore majoring in fine arts. She commutes from down the road in Mount Olive and was the president of the Commuter Club last year.

The freshmen moved in Sunday, followed by transfers Monday and returning students Tuesday.

Sunday the students had a "dippin dot" ice-cream party.

Monday night was bingo night, after which 64 of the 160 bingo players went out for dinner together.

Tuesday was registration for returning students, followed that night with a drive-in movie.

Admissions Director Tim Woodard says he and his staff work a whole year to plan for these three days. This week he's seeing 260 new students, "which is really good for us."

Out of the 35 private colleges and universities in North Carolina, Mount Olive College is ranked the fourth fastest growing, the fifth most affordable and the eighth largest.

"Now when we go to Raleigh or Charlotte, people don't ask us where's Mount Olive," he said. "We're a presence now."

The new students represent 10 other nations and 10 states. Woodard's office has three recruiters. Most private schools have at least seven.

"Starting next week, we stay on the road into mid-November," he said.

Almost 95 percent of the students are full-time, and the adult non-traditional students are increasing as fast as the traditional students, she said. About 85 percent of the student body is non-traditional.

This is college Vice President Ellen Jordan's fourth year at Mount Olive College, and during her first year, she heard people talking about approaching a student population of 2,000. Now, it's over 3,300.

"We'll have students this year from 29 countries," she said. "I think we're one of the most unique places in the world. I think it's because we're hands-on."