Destination: Minn.

Tracy Ellingson

While many University students used their spring break as a chance to flee campus, prospective students made the school a prime vacation destination.
But for some of these students, sacrificing the sandy beaches of a tropical somewhere might be well worth their while if they decide to make the University their school this fall. The Office of Admissions offers campus and residence hall tours year-round, with student guides leading groups of about 10 people and answering any questions they might have.
“(Spring) is certainly a busy time,” said Wayne Sigler, director of the University’s Office of Admissions. “We get a lot of guests all year long, but I would say now is an especially busy time.”
It is difficult to determine how effective the tours are in convincing interested students to attend the University, Sigler said, but tours are certainly an important recruiting tool.
“It’s probably a combination of things, but we think the campus visit is extremely important, because partly what they’re here to learn about is the University itself, the facts,” he said. These include “the rankings of programs, the availability of their major, information about scholarships and financial aid and housing, things of this nature.”
Jim Kokalj, whose Hubertus, Wis., high school has spring break this week, on Monday toured the University with his parents. Kokalj’s mother, Mary, said although her son has been accepted to both the University and the University of Wisconsin at Madison, he hopes to go to school in the east.
“But we don’t hear from those schools until April,” Mary Kokalj said. “It’s really nerve-wracking for us.”
But other advantages, such as cost and location, have made Kokalj, who plans to study political science, consider the University over Madison, and brought him to take a look at the campus.
“Madison is so liberal and so close to home,” Mary Kokalj said. “He wants a different experience.”
Sigler said most of the students touring campus in the spring are, like Kokalj, in the final stages of their college decision-making.
The Kokaljs’ tour guide, Jay Schroeder, started giving tours this fall. “We’ve been really busy this month because high schools are on spring break,” said Schroeder, a junior in the College of Liberal Arts.
Although this time of year is busier, the tour numbers have remained manageable and the Kokaljs ended up with an almost private campus tour.
Brandyn Tackaberry, a senior from Buffalo, Minn., was the only other student to join the group and walked up front with Schroeder, firing off several questions about the University — something that Schroeder said is unusual for his tour members to do.
“Usually tour groups are silent and never ask questions,” Schroeder said. “This was a little more dynamic group.”
Tackaberry, also on his spring break, said he applied to University of St. Thomas, Bethel College and Boston University. But he said he always thought about going to the University. “I’ll probably go here,” Tackaberry said. “It’s cheaper. I’ve always been interested, there’s always been something about it.”