Full house

Prospective students come from near and far

- October 19, 2007

New friends Olivia Merrithew and Cara Adams met during Dalhousie's Open House. (Nick Pearce photo)

High school student Cara Adams thinks Dalhousie’s Discover the Unexpected Open House is a great idea. So great she traveled all the way from Maine to be here.

“I came to Dalhousie’s Open House because this is one of the few schools I could find that had a costume studies department,” she says. “That’s what I’m really interested in, so for me it was worth the trip.”

Ms. Adams found like-minded students in her tour group, including Olivia Merrithew. Like Ms. Adams, Ms. Merrithew is interested in Dalhousie’s costume studies program, and made the trip to Halifax from out of town.

“They have costume design programs at other schools in Toronto where I’m from, but I really want to get out of the city,” she says. “Halifax is so beautiful. My dad’s from the Maritimes, so this almost feels like a second home,” she says.

The two students chatted with others on their tour of campus, and peppered their tour guide with questions. Their guide, Elizabeth Hughes, is in the third year of the program.

About 1,000 students attended Discover the Unexpected, Dalhousie’s Open House this year. The rain that had been threatening throughout the morning held off and students and their parents were treated to unseasonably warm weather for their day-long event.

Nikki Power, a familiar face from posters and billboards all over the Halifax area, kicked off the event along with fourth-year commerce student Liam Mather. President Tom Traves welcomed students to campus and invited them to “become inspired by Dalhousie – by our professors, our students, and our courses.”


“It was fabulous,” Ms. Power said of taking part in Open House and the advertising campaign leading up to it. She herself attended Dalhousie’s first Open House, which helped when the time came for her to decide which university to attend. Four years later, she addressed the crowd of high school students who have the same decision to make.

She says she was pleased to take part in the publicity campaign for Open House, and had a lot of fun with her 15 minutes of fame. “I was a celebrity for about a month or so,” she laughed.

In addition to touring classes, strolling the campus, checking out residences, and enjoying a free, all-you-can eat lunch, students were also eligible to win prizes. Leslie Evans of Lockview High School in Fall River, walked away with the largest prize of all. She won a new laptop and, when she enrolls next fall, she’ll receive a free room in residence, a meal plan, a year of tech support for her new laptop, and a $500 gift certificate for Dalhousie's bookstore. Ms. Evans plans on studying nursing or political science at Dal.

The day concluded with the student expo and tours of residences and Dalplex. For Ms. Adams, one of the best things about Open House was the opportunity to meet future classmates ahead of time. 

“I think it’s great that you can be in a group of people who are from all different areas, but have similar interests,” said Ms. Adams. “It’s a chance to get to know people ahead of time. Having that opportunity, and the chance to check out the campus helps you to make your decision.”


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