Jillian Richardson, left, a UMSL junior communication major, presents Rachel Garrelts, a junior at Francis Howell North High School in St.Charles, Mo., with a new iPad. Rachel was the grand prize winner at Saturday's UMSL Day attended by a record number of prospective students, their families and friends.

Rachel Garrelts, a junior at Francis Howell North High School in St. Charles, Mo. seemed overwhelmed with winning the grand prize – a shiny new Apple iPad.

“I never expected to win anything,” she said. “I just came here to see what it was like. It’s so great.” Clutching her new iPad, she rushed off to talk with some of the dozens of faculty located on the first and second floors of the Millennium Student Center at the University of Missouri–St. Louis.

Rachel was one of 968 people, 383 of them prospective students, who attended Fall 2011 UMSL Day Saturday. The record numbers arrived in big groups, small groups, some individuals to learn more about UMSL’s award-winning programs, load up on financial aid information, talk to professors, tour the campus and fit as much as they could into three hours.

The event, held each fall and spring, has attracted record numbers of potential students in recent years. This year’s attendance more than doubled last fall’s total of 400 when 165 prospective students took part in the event.

The line was long at the mathematics and computer science table. Derek Moring a transfer student from Jefferson College in Hillsboro, Mo., and John Angeli, a senior at Francis Howell High School in St. Charles, Mo., stood patiently in line to talk about computer science.

The College of Fine Arts and Communication, with their colorful banners, videos and giveaways attracted a steady stream of potential students and their parents.

The College of Nursing table also had a long line in front of it. Chelsie Jakuboski, a senior at Troy Buchanan High School in Troy, Mo. said she chose to visit UMSL because of its “great nursing program and its affordability.” She’s also a top student, plays soccer and was heading off to talk to faculty at the Pierre Laclede Honors College about living on campus.

According to Alan Byrd, director of admissions, 112 students applied to the university, another record number for UMSL Day.

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Maureen Zegel

Maureen Zegel

Eye on UMSL: Tending the gardens

Biology student James Ott and Sustainable Energy & Environmental Coordinator Katy Mike Smaistrla pull weeds last week in the native gardens north of the Recreation Wellness Center.