Hundreds of SoCal students consider becoming Ducks

More than 200 prospective and admitted students, plus hundreds of family and friends, packed a UO admissions reception in Santa Monica as part of the events leading up to the 2020 Rose Bowl.

The Dec. 30 event included opportunities to talk with academic leaders, learn about UO majors, ask questions about campus life and meet the Oregon Duck.

The University of Oregon is the No. 1 choice for California students who don’t attend an in-state university. High school students from across California and other states talked with researchers, deans and faculty members about what it would be like to attend the UO.

Max Riley, a junior from Hermosa Beach, California, asked UO Provost Patrick Phillips a half-dozen questions about history and biology, then chatted with several additional deans and researchers.

“I thought it was really great that I could speak to all the people from the different departments,” Riley said. “I’m pretty interested in the architecture department because they have a fantastic program, and I liked that I got to talk to the dean. It was great.”

Roger Thompson, vice president for student services and enrollment management, said the UO has had success showcasing the university’s academic strengths in conjunction with athletic events. Enrollment data shows students who attended admissions events associated with bowl games applied to and choose the UO at rates much higher than average.

“This is so exciting having so many students here,” Thompson said. “Talking about the incredible academics, quality of life and experiences that the UO offers is my favorite part of the job. And to be able to introduce students to the dozen deans, vice presidents and other academic leaders who are here from the UO really benefits students as they make their decisions.”

Thompson said the UO’s primary focus is to serve Oregon first and foremost, but he said that as a tier-one research university in a smaller-population state, the university must bring in students from outside Oregon. California has long been an important region for the UO, both for student recruitment and alumni involvement.

The UO is the top out-of-state choice for California students, according the College Board. More than 10 percent of the UO student body hails from the southern half of the Golden State. The region also is home to more than 10,000 alumni, making it the largest network outside Oregon.

Myrka Morales, a California student who wants to study journalism at the UO, spoke with several faculty members from the School of Journalism and Communication. She learned about opportunities to tell stories in Alaska and about the numerous hands-on experiences for students. She said she became enamored with the UO after a visit last year. 

“There’s a sense of community,” Morales said. “I just felt welcomed. This is a place I can study and be supported. It is just a feeling. Talking to all these professors is just amazing.”

As part of the event, students also got to take pictures with the Duck, listen to the Oregon Marching Band and talk with other current students. Three students also won tickets to the Rose Bowl game.

By Jennifer Winters, University Communications