May 1st has long been known as “Decision Day” in the world of traditional higher education. It is a national day of celebration for students who have decided on their college or university of choice. For many colleges and universities, it signals the deadline for students to pay enrollment deposits and commit to fall enrollment.
As for next year’s freshmen who that have not made their college decisions, University of Mount Olive Director of Admissions Nicole Balsamello has some advice. “I would encourage students to consider the top two or three most important things on their wish list. Then, make sure that the University they choose meets or exceeds their expectations in those areas.”
Admissions Representative Treyvon Webb indicated that deciding factors often come down to things like available majors, faculty to student ratio, location, overall cost, and athletic options. “We hope and believe that UMO exceeds expectations in most of these cases, but it is important that the students and their families feel that as well,” Webb said.
Unlike some campuses, UMO is fully operational with students able to attend classes, and that is important for prospective students and their families to be able to tour the UMO campus. “It is great for our prospective students to see our facilities, meet our faculty, and learn about opportunities from current students,” said Webb. “When you get to make connections and actually experience the atmosphere, then you can make a more informed decision. I truly believe, seeing is believing.”
While UMO has many out-of-state and international students, about 70% of its traditional students hail from North Carolina. “Local is a great option for many students because it allows them opportunities to learn, work, and give back to their own communities,” said Vice President for Enrollment Tim Woodard. “Students can take advantage of the strong relationships the University has with people from across eastern NC.”
For many students, the option to commute from home also makes their dream of attending college even more affordable. “Students who may have counted themselves out from attending a university, now have the option to receive a great education that fits their budget,” Woodard added.
According to Woodard, two of UMO’s biggest selling points for traditional students are size and affordability. “Students who are overwhelmed by larger institutions feel at home here at UMO,” he said. “They can see firsthand that faculty and staff interact closely with our students. In fact, by the time a student enrolls at UMO, he or she has likely already had multiple opportunities to connect with our faculty either at one of our Open House events, through e-mail, or even during an in person meeting on a campus tour.”
“Making education affordable for our students is one of our top priorities,” added Director of Financial Brian Blackburn. “The personalized attention we provide is something our students tell us repeatedly makes a difference in their decision.”
Blackburn notes that one of the most important issues facing many students and families during COVID-19 is how are they going to pay for college. “Our Admissions and Financial Aid Representatives are working with each student on an individual basis to make sure they have their financial aid and all scholarship forms completed,” Blackburn said. “The University of Mount Olive is known for our value and affordability, and now more than ever it is crucial we demonstrate this to all of our current and new UMO students.”
Because of COVID-19, many of UMO’s incoming freshmen will celebrate Decision Day 2021 from the comfort of their homes. However, the day will still be a momentous occasion filled with hope and promise for the days ahead. “May 1st really starts the next chapter of the admissions process for our students and allows us to continue to grow our relationships with them and make sure they feel welcomed and prepared as a new member of the Trojan Family,” concluded Balsamello.