There is a constant for those students already accepted to attend Ferris State University, along with those currently enrolled at another post-secondary institution, or those high school students trying to set their academic course following graduation. Ferris’ Office of Admissions has opportunities through in-person gatherings and virtual meeting sessions to acclimate students with the main campus in Big Rapids while offering them counsel to begin or continue their path toward a degree.
Shari Chamberlain, an Admissions counselor specializing in transfer student initiatives, said most weekdays feature student-guided programs to tour the Ferris campus and a brief presentation on university programs from an Admissions recruiter.
“In the 20-minute Admissions presentation, our recruiters go over the campus information we know is important to new students as they head to Ferris. Then, a campus tour led by a current student provides added information and allows visitors to experience various locations on campus,” Chamberlain said. “The daily visit programs have our guests arriving for the presentation at 11 a.m., followed by the campus tour, and ending with a meal voucher they can use for lunch or after their tour ends, around 12:30 p.m.”
Chamberlain added, “There is also a mid-afternoon campus visit which is similar in arrangement to the daily visit but provides our guests with another visit option with a later start and an end time. The mid-afternoon visit begins at 3 p.m. and provides a broad experience of the university and its offerings, along with a student-led walking tour. By going to the Ferris webpage, students can sign up for their session using the ‘Visit’ icon, at the right side of the computer screen.”
All visit programs emphasize current student opportunities at the time of their visit. Admitted students for Fall 2022 semester are approaching significant dates for their chance to receive the Bulldog Bonus. This is a one-time scholarship from the university to assist with their education expenses. Chamberlain said the requirements for the Bulldog Bonus includes being admitted to either the Ferris Big Rapids campus or Kendall College of Art and Design, completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form and taking part in a virtual financial aid event that takes place on Wednesday, Feb. 16.
“Two thousand dollars is available through the Bulldog Bonus award, and another $2,000 could be had with a Bulldog Housing Bonus,” Chamberlain said. “Some students may be eligible to receive their Bulldog Bonus, and our Woodbridge N. Ferris Scholarships. The Bulldog Housing Bonus requires completing the admissions process, signing a Housing contract and attending a Virtual Housing Night on Thursday, Feb. 10.
Deadlines to meet requirements are Friday, Feb. 11 for the Bulldog Housing Bonus and Friday, Feb. 18 for the Bulldog Bonus. Students who have questions about these scholarship opportunities should contact our Financial Aid professionals, as they are happy to help in this process.”
The process to help admitted students access opportunities and gain needed materials to begin their academic and social lives at Ferris will advance in three steps. Admitted student open houses begin in mid-March, where students who arrive as high school graduates or transfers from another institution can receive their ID cards and secure housing intentions, whether they have already taken up an online orientation model, or not.
"Students will be set up with advising sessions through a virtual platform, so that they might register for Fall classes, ahead of their orientation," Chamberlain said. "Those Zoom appointments are likely to take place in May, followed by in-person orientations, to meet fellow students and get more familiar with campus."
Chamberlain said groups of high school and college students are welcome to visit the Ferris campus through the help of their local high school, intermediate school district or community college. The itinerary allows students to learn about specialty departments on the campus and receive an admissions presentation and the campus tour offered in other visit programs.
“Some groups cross the state to take part in their Big Rapids campus visit,” Chamberlain said. “These are program-focused opportunities, like ISD Career Center students who come to learn about our Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration (HVACR) programs with a specialized tour of the Granger Center to learn about their desired career field and how earning a Ferris degree will help them achieve their career goals.”
The Admissions staff is also planning Dawg Days events for the spring months.
“Those visits begin mid-morning with a multi-faceted presentation including a recruiter’s talk, financial aid update, a question-and-answer session with current students, a campus tour and a meal for our guests and their family members,” Chamberlain said. “We appreciate the support of our academic departments and Ferris colleges, who collaborate to make these events informative and enjoyable.”
Chamberlain specializes in outreach and support for those students attending other colleges who seek to transfer and continue with Ferris after earning various combinations of college credits and degrees. The COVID-19 pandemic brought about changes in visitation relationships with multiple two-year college campuses, so Chamberlain said virtual sessions are now the primary method for assisting transfer prospects.
“We will resume our community college campus visits as soon as our partners are comfortable with that process,” Chamberlain said. “We are very willing to meet students individually or in groups through virtual means, as we have since the start of the pandemic.”
For now, several virtual transfer sessions are available to college transfer students. Chamberlain said a list of upcoming opportunities is now on the Transfer Admissions homepage.
“The Transfer Admissions page also shares information about available transfer scholarships, for students demonstrating academic excellence with at least 12 accepted transfer credit hours,” Chamberlain said.
“Transfer students intending to enroll at any Ferris location, including main campus, statewide locations and Kendall College of Art and Design, will soon have a single webpage to view all of their options,” Chamberlain said. “Various transfer staff from across campus, including Admissions, Extended and International Operations, and the Office of Transfer and Secondary School Partnerships, collaborate with Web Marketing Services, based in University Advancement and Marketing, to improve the transfer experience online. Whether they are first-timers in any college or transfer, we want all incoming students to feel comfortable with the campus and familiar with others beginning the same journey. We believe our new programming structure and Bulldog Bonus plans will be meaningful for and welcomed by these students.”