Over 7,000 future students and family members flooded Western’s campus Saturday, March 24 during the largest-ever Spring open house hosted by the university, showcasing dozens of programs across 11 faculties.
Eager high school students and their parents arrived at Western to tour the campus, watch demonstrations of teaching and curricula, check out residence buildings and explore academic options. Western offered everything from concerts to walking and bus tours to mini-lectures with professors across faculties.
It was a mini-lecture from nursing faculty that caught the attention of Anisha Sandhi, visiting from Kitchener, Ont. with her mother.
“The professors know what they’re talking about, they’re so passionate about what they’re saying. You feel engaged. You know when someone is having fun teaching, and it makes it so much easier for you to learn? It was that kind of experience.”
Sandhi opted to take college courses after graduating high school as a steppingstone before applying to university. She always knew she wanted to take nursing, and her sights are set on Western.
“It’s the prettiest campus I’ve ever seen. It’s what you would imagine a university looks like in the movies, like Hogwarts. When you drive in, it looks magical,” Sandhi said.
When Achu Baskaran pulled up to Western with his brothers for the Spring open house, the size and beauty of the campus hit him hard.
“From far away, when we saw the campus, it looked like a whole town,” he said.
He was joined by his twin brother Aathi, and their older brother Aathman, who drove his siblings to London from Port Union, Ont.
The Baskaran twins, both graduating this year, are competitive with one another.
Aathi is eager to study at the Ivey Business School, drawn by the summer internship opportunities, while Achu is targeting the actuarial science program.
The brothers said they enjoyed exploring various buildings across the “spacious” campus and posing questions to staff and current students.
“We want all of our guests to get a sense of what it’s like to be at Western. They’re trying to see, ‘is this where I’m going to be successful?’ The staff, the facilities – all the things the university experience encompasses – that’s what we’re trying to show off on our day,” deputy registrar Matthew Stiegemeyer said.
“We always lead with the quality academic experience: we have dozens of great programs and literally hundreds of ways to combine those. Then there’s the residences, our cafeterias, the recreation facilities, all the ways to have that great four-year experience, to not just develop your academic sense, but also make new friends, learn new things and develop as a person.” – Matthew Stiegemeyer, deputy registrar
A number of international students from China, India, South Korea and Pakistan also visited the open house.
High schoolers getting an early start on their university choices are a growing group among open house guests, with many Grade 10 and 11 students attending Saturday’s event.
Grace Brioux arrived from Caledon, Ont. with her family, including older sister Rachel Brioux, BSc’18, who graduated from Western with a math degree. Grace is in Grade 11, looking to get a head start on university decisions.
“I’m not really sure what I want to do, so I want to get a better look at things. I want to be sure of every single option before I start applying,” Grace said. She’s interested in studying English or social science.
“Anything that’s not math,” she joked with her sister.
As for Rachel, she said she won’t interfere, despite a bias for Western.
“I just want Grace to get the feeling of campus,” Rachel said.
Other families echoed those thoughts.
Madison Baresich visited Western with her parents from southwest of London, Ont. She was eager to look at the different residence options and dorm styles available to first-year students. Her parents liked the exposure to a range of academic possibilities.
“It’s a nice school; everything is close together. There are a lot of options she could branch off into here, if she changes her mind in the first year,” dad Justin Baresich said.
That’s a key goal of the open house event, to help future students envision their life at Western.
“It’s a place where students can develop a community and find everything they need,” Stiegemeyer said.