By Kay James ‘16
As one of the few women’s colleges situated in a genuine, local consortium, the college has even more at stake in first impressions. The ability to attend such an institution while participating in co-ed activities is a balance most prospective students want to witness firsthand.
On its website, Scripps acknowledges that “most Scripps students weren’t originally seeking a women’s college. But once they visited Scripps, they saw its real advantages.”
Based on this observation, several programs have been implemented to facilitate student visits, often with a particular focus on marginalized groups.
One of these programs is Discover Scripps, a two-day event that will take place on Oct. 12 and 13 this year. The program’s official webpage states that it was created to honor the college’s Principles of Diversity in “acknowledging and engaging issues of race, ethnicity, religion, belief, opinion, economic class, age, gender, sexuality and physical ableness.”
While Discover Scripps, Spend a Day in Our Shoes (SADIOS) and Admitted Students Weekend have a more “it takes a village to matriculate a prospie” approach, many high school seniors choose to be hosted by individual students. This provides an intimate yet highly -varied experience.
During a visit this month, Mattie Bono, a high-school senior from Chattanooga, Tennessee, stated that she likes hosting because it gives her “the real experience.”
“I really like it,” Bono said. “I’m really excited about the community. It seems really cool and empowering. It’s a stark contrast to high school where it’s more of a competitive nature. Here, everyone is aware of everyone else, and so you don’t really get lost in a crowd where you can be kind of absorbed by your loneliness.”
Not all hosting experiences, however, result in such a positive image of Scripps. One current sophomore states that visiting Scripps “painted a picture that was pretty but also intimidating.” She stated that, while staying in a triple with current students at the time, she was “enticed by the belief that going to Scripps would magically make [her like the students she stayed with], and that everyone would be invited to parties” — a hope she held especially because she had “never been to cool parties in high school.” While enticed by the idea, this current student states that she was also “terrified” she would be forced to conform to the standards exhibited by her student hosts: students who had “hot boyfriends from the other 5Cs” and took difficult coursework.
Difficulties also exist on the end of Scripps’ student volunteers. After dealing with a particularly frustrating “prospie,” a current student stated that “I always knew that privileged and entitled people attend Scripps as well as the other colleges…[it] makes me wonder how many people here take their presence at Scripps for granted as well.” The family’s response to their student’s desire to stay at another campus made the interviewee question “how families contribute to the students’ sense of entitlement.”
Despite all of this, many students have had generally-positive experiences while being hosted.
Megan Gianniny ‘14 said that her reason for being an overnight hostess was that she “felt like volunteering for the admissions office was a way to give back to Scripps a little bit, and when I did an overnight at Mt. Holyoke — the only school where I did one — I really loved it and felt like it had a big influence on how much I wanted to go to the school.”
Many students who host describe positive experiences as well. Vivienne Müller ‘16 stated that one prospective student she hosted was “really sweet and seemed enthusiastic about Scripps,” not an atypical account amongst student hosts.
Life after being a prospective student can be difficult, but Janet Ulhir ‘17 states that “hosting a prospie, or my roommate’s prospie, turned the power dynamic around.” Ulhir elaborates by saying that “being a prospie is an idealized glimpse that does not encompass a whole experience” and that her first year was “a lot less glamorous” than expected. Given this history, Ulhir states that hosting prospies gives her the power to “project” the wisdom she has cultivated during her time here.
This sentiment indicates that the process of shared wisdom does not end after matriculation but is rather a flame that is continually passed from each class year to the next. It is a process that begins as a prospective student and continues after graduation. Beyond “hosting,” the Scripps community holds a spirit of mentorship that attracts each new incoming class.