Attending the Governor's School for the Arts with an emphasis in theater at Middle Tennessee State University in 2013, Aaron Johnson "fell in love with this place."
Johnson, who is from Kingsport in upper East Tennessee, applied and was accepted last fall. He visited MTSU again Friday (Jan. 23), participating in the True Blue Experience Day for the Colleges of Liberal Arts and Behavioral and Health Sciences.
The special experience day gave the 100-plus combined prospective students, their parents and family members a chance for an in-depth campus visit. They meet deans, faculty, advisers and other academic personnel; they talk to admissions and financial aid personnel; they can visit classes and laboratories, seeing MTSU students in action; and gain a glimpse of life at the university.
Johnson, a Dobyns-Bennett High School senior, took in a child drama class taught by Department of Speech and Theatre professor Jette Halladay.
"I thought it was really cool, being able to jump into a class. It was a real eye-opener," said Johnson, who made the 300-mile trip with his mother, Jennifer Campbell, and grandmother, Sharon Salyer, both from Kingsport. "Everyone was in good spirits, the teacher, especially, and the students."
While at the Governor's School nearly two years ago, Johnson said MTSU speech and theatre chair Jeff Gibson proved to be "an awesome mentor."
"He (Gibson) assures me I can have an awesome time here," added Johnson, who is a member of the Dobyns-Bennett Dramahawks forensics club.
School of Nursing Director Jenny Sauls and associate professor Sherri Stevens showed two different groups of potential students around Cason-Kennedy Nursing Building. Sauls' tour included a large clinical lab, where MTSU students were performing hands-on activities. Stevens' last tour stop was the Advanced Simulator Lab.
"It's like a real hospital setting," Stevens told the visitors.
Sabrina Deberry of Lexington, Tennessee, found Stevens' tour "very interesting."
"I've seen some things (mannequin) I've taken classes on and I've seen a simulator," added Deberry, a junior at Lexington High School. Rochelle Deberry, her mother, and sister Keeambra Green, an MTSU alumna Class of 2011, joined Sabrina Deberry for the True Blue Experience Day. Green is a dental hygienist.
Best friends and Bradley Central High School seniors Callie Morgan and Chloe Wallace of Cleveland, Tennessee, eagerly await returning to MTSU in late August after applying, being accepted and attending the experience day.
"I loved it (MTSU) -- the layout, the plans. It suits me and my goals (to be a nursing student)," Morgan said.
"I really like how they have hands-on experience, (and) I like all the faculty I've met," Wallace said. "It seems like I'll enjoy it here."
Five students and their parents heard an excellent overview of the School of Music by Director Michael Parkinson and professor Stephen Smith.
"We not only want you to succeed, but to excel," Parkinson said to the potential students.
Other Liberal Arts departments include art, English, foreign languages and literatures, history, philosophy, political science and sociology and anthropology.
Other Behavioral and Health Sciences departments include criminal justice administration, health and human performance, human sciences, psychology and social work.
The visitors came from Michigan, West Virginia and North Carolina. In Tennessee, the range was from Memphis to Elizabethton.
To learn additional details:
The True Blue Experience Day for the MTSU Colleges of Business, Education and Mass Communication will be held Friday, Jan. 30. To pre-register for any of the Office of Admissions special events this winter and spring, visit www.mtsu.edu/rsvp or call 615-898-5670.