By TYLER ELLYSON
KEARNEY – Katie Lytle can’t wait to start classes at the University of Nebraska at Kearney this fall.
The senior at Elkhorn South High School is “so ready” for her college career and life as a Loper.
“I know I’m going to be happy when it’s summer, but it’s crazy that I have like five months to wait before I come here,” Lytle said. “I’m really excited.”
That feeling of excitement and enthusiasm filled UNK’s Health and Sports Center on Tuesday, when more than 80 high school seniors and their families were on campus for the first-ever Admitted Student Day.
Organized by UNK Admissions, the event gave students planning to attend UNK an opportunity to learn more about academic programs, support services, campus housing, financial aid, extracurricular activities and other aspects of college life. They also heard from current Lopers who shared their UNK experiences.
Conducted amid health protocols, Admitted Student Day is the first in-person, large-scale recruitment event UNK has hosted since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
“If you’re planning to attend a college, it’s important that you go and check out what they have to offer, and some of these students haven’t had that opportunity yet,” said Ashley Olivas, enrollment events and outreach coordinator with UNK Admissions. “This is their first real chance to be on campus and feel like a student here.”
For other students, the event gave them a head start on college planning.
Lytle, who wants to be a high school chemistry teacher, first toured UNK after a friend enrolled at the university. The campus and community “really seemed like a good fit for me,” she said.
She called Admitted Student Day a “refresher course” that allowed her to further experience the campus culture, meet other future Lopers and start thinking about the ways she wants to get involved outside the classroom.
“This is kind of like a final preview before I come here in the fall,” said Lytle. She’s interested in Fraternity and Sorority Life, intramural sports and eventually the opportunity to tutor other students through the Learning Commons.
Hampton High School student Abbey Arndt, who plans to study early childhood/elementary education, was also familiar with UNK from previous campus visits. Plus, she has family in Kearney.
“It felt like home when I first came here,” said Arndt, who likes the smaller, close-knit campus. She came to Admitted Student Day to get more information on financial aid and campus resources.
“I’m really happy to be at this event and glad that we’re allowed to be on campus right now, because it’s been hard to go places over the past year,” Arndt said.
Admitted Student Day will be offered each spring, when high school seniors start focusing on the transition to college. A new event for high school juniors also is in the works for this spring.
“These are relationship-builders,” UNK Admissions Director Jodi Holt said of the events. “In the Admissions Office, that’s our No. 1 goal. We want to start building relationships with students and introduce them to the people they’ll be working with on campus.”