Preview Day gives glimpse into life at WJU

By: Lauren Weber, The Placer Herald
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Prospective students got a glimpse into the life of a William Jessup University student Thursday. The Christian-based university held it’s annual spring Preview Day with campus tours, mock classroom time, lunch and parent, student and faculty panels. The day also included information on admission guidelines and financial aid for students. Leading up to this year’s spring Preview Day, Sheila Haut, Public Information Officer for WJU, said the RSVPs were up 50 percent from last year’s preview day – with more than 200 students expected to attend. What may have attracted prospective students to WJU is the recently announced tuition decrease by 2.5 percent for the 2009-10 year. “At a time of economic uncertainty, many families and students might overlook the possibility of attending a private university, but the reality is that the financial commitments may not be as great as prospective students think,” WJU Director of Admissions Vance Pascua said in a news release. More than $2.2 in financial aid was awarded to WJU students during the current academic year. And the school continues to make improvements for its students on site. Currently under construction is an on-campus apartment complex that will house 192 students in the upcoming fall semester. The approximately 35,000-square-foot apartment dorms will hold six to eight students in a pod unit with a kitchen and two bathrooms. In another phase of remodeling, the warehouse building that currently holds music and athletics will be converted into a larger cafeteria and additional athletic facilities. Part of what makes WJU stand out to some students is the smallness of the campus. That’s what attracted senior Ashley Waterman. Waterman said she was looking for a school where she wouldn’t feel like a small fish in a big sea. After attending two preview days, she felt at home at the “friendly campus,” she said. “God closed the doors on other schools I was looking at and opened this one,” Waterman said. Waterman led one of the campus tours during spring Preview Day – showing a group of prospective students and their parents the modern, colorful campus. Formerly a furniture factory called Herman Miller Corporation, WJU’s campus combines warehouse space with colorful buildings, designed by architect Frank Gehry. Many of the classrooms are filled with comfy chairs – donated from Herman Miller. The original factory consisted of three large warehouse buildings. Once taken over by WJU, the site transformed into a campus of purple, green, burnt orange and yellow buildings, copper wall accents and exposed ceilings. The university’s current prayer chapel was once home to a furniture showroom. Now, it sits in the center of campus full of cozy chairs and an endless ceiling. Along for Waterman’s tour were Katelynn Paul and her mother, from Citrus Heights. Paul currently attends Sierra College, but is looking to transfer to another college next year. She attended a private Christian high school and is looking for a college with a Christian emphasis, close to home and smaller than other universities. WJU is located on a 128-acre campus with a student to teacher ratio of 12 to one. The average class size is 15 students, Waterman said. Walking past a class in session at WJU, the majority of students use their laptops during lecture, partly because the entire campus is wireless, allowing for students to tackle homework anywhere, Waterman said. More than 150 people attended spring Preview Day – a record number since the school’s relocation to Rocklin. “Preview Day is a unique way for students and their families to understand how seriously we take our commitment to educating the whole student – academically, spiritually and socially,” Pascua said.