Stephanie Ozuna, UTPA admissions counselor, said the purpose of the event is to attract students from the Rio Grande Valley and outside areas to visit the University and see what the campus has to offer. She said if they feel warm and welcomed then it could increase their chances of attending UTPA.
"Sometimes parents from outside the RGV can be a little wary because the campus is so close to the border," Ozuna said. "But I think once they get familiar with the campus, its environment and security, they can see how safe it is and feel more secure about sending their students away to college. As for students from the Valley they can get a better idea of what they can look forward to if they attend UTPA."
The event is free and geared toward high school juniors and seniors who are preparing for college, but anyone who wishes to get a better insight on the University community is also welcome to attend. Ozuna said the first year they had more than 300 visitors, the second year they had close to 600 and they hope their numbers will increase this time around.
Prospective UTPA parents and students at the event will have the opportunity to meet University students, parents and staff during a student and parent panel discussion. The panel will be composed of Student Government Association (SGA) representatives, student organization members, admissions and financial aid staff, UTPA police officers and parents of UTPA students. The panel will be available to answer questions and discuss pertinent information regarding the University. There will also be academic presentations so that students and parents can become familiar with the programs offered at UTPA.
In addition, a variety of student organizations such as SGA, University Program Board (UPB), student publications, and sororities and fraternities will come together at the event to promote student involvement.
"Studies show that the percentage of students who participate in campus organizations usually do better in school," Ozuna said. "We want to show students the fun side of our campus so that they'll be encouraged to get involved."
Mock class presentations will also be available for students and parents who want to experience what an actual college classroom and lecture are like. Faculty members such as Dr. Bruce Reed, also Dean of the College of Health Sciences and Human Services, Dr. Amy Hay, assistant professor of history and philosophy, Dr. Stephanie Alvarez, assistant professor of modern languages and literature, Dr. Joyce Jackson, assistant professor for computer information systems and quantitative methods, are among those who will host lectures during the event.
"Based on past surveys from students, they have really enjoyed the mock class presentations," Ozuna said. "They felt it gave them the idea of what a college classroom is going to be like."
All prospective students who attend will have the chance of being selected to receive a scholarship to UTPA to assist with tuition or books , however, you must be present to win. Tickets to a UTPA Bronc basketball game will also be given away. Door prizes consisting of UTPA paraphernalia will be handed out during each session.
"Going to college is a life changing experience so I want people to come by, enjoy our event and see what UTPA has to offer," Ozuna said.
To reserve your seat at this event, RSVP by e-mailing your full name, birth date and the number of guests who will be attending to RSVP@utpa.edu.
For more information on Fall in Love with UTPA, call admissions at (956) 665-2999.