Big Weekend offers chance to experience college life up close

Release Date: February 29, 2008

PLAINVIEW – What does 10 p.m. in a college dorm really sound like? Are college lectures boring? What do you do for fun around here? Those and other common questions for high school students will be answered during Big Weekend at Wayland Baptist University, slated March 28-29 on the Plainview Campus.

              The annual weekend gives prospective students from high schools or potential junior college transfers a chance to experience life at Wayland up close, from dorm life to cafeteria meals and after-hours fun. Information sessions introduce prospects to the various academic offerings at the university as well as the process for admissions, financial aid and scholarships.

              Debbie Stennett, new director of admissions at Wayland, said the experience is unlike anything students will read about in catalogs or see on the Web site. That face-to-face encounter, she said, is priceless.

              “Seeing other students and hearing them witness about their experience here is so important. It’s kind of like riding a bicycle; until you’re actually in the seat, pedaling and talking to people who’ve done it, you just don’t know,” Stennett said. “It’s that connection with other students that makes it so real to them. Until they hear other kids say this is doable and fun, they just don’t know for sure.”

              Big Weekend kicks off with a glimpse at the academic side of college life with opportunities to sit in on actual classes. The weekly chapel service, typically held on Wednesday, will follow at 11 a.m. that Friday, with lunch to follow. The afternoon features games and activities, campus tours, and tryout opportunities for those interested in volleyball, cheerleading and soccer. Following dinner, an introductory session is slated to welcome participants.

              A highlight of the weekend is the Friday night concert. This year’s entertainers are Hawk Nelson, opened by Run Kid Run. Tickets are free to Big Weekend attendees and the concert begins t 7:30 p.m. in Harral Auditorium. Following the concert, guests will enjoy the late night breakfast served by faculty and staff and late night activities to follow provide opportunities to relax and get to know current students and other visitors.

              Following breakfast on Saturday, the “All About WBU” session and academic fair are planned, followed by lunch and the Pioneer Fest featuring extracurricular activity offerings for students. More tours and free time are available, as are tryouts for JV basketball, band, choir, cheerleading, art and theatre.

              Following dinner, the Baptist Student Ministries will host a praise and worship service to close out the Big Weekend for visitors.

              “The weekend is about the prospective student coming to campus and really getting a feel for what it’s like to be a college kid for a couple of days. That’s always a lot of fun for us,” said Dr. Claude Lusk, vice president of enrollment management at Wayland and who has been involved with Big Weekend for many years.

              Though the weekend is aimed at students, parents are welcome to attend as well and get all their Wayland information first hand. A special breakfast for them is planned for Saturday morning.

              In addition, Stennett said she hopes area adult students who are considering returning to school will attend Big Weekend and get more information as well. She hopes to have a special reception for those students and allow them to hear testimonies from current nontraditional students about how accessible an education at WBU can be.

              Overall, Stennett said the event is about building the Wayland family one class at a time.

              “One of my favorite quotations is from Mother Teresa: “Keep a lamp burning,” and we have to keep putting oil in it. That’s what our students are, the oil that keeps the flame burning,” she said.

              To register for the weekend, students may log onto www.wbu.edu and click on the Big Weekend link or may call the Office of Admissions at (806) 291-3500 or toll free at (800) 588-1928.