Twice a semester, Liberty University hosts thousands of high school students and parents from around the country during College for a Weekend (CFAW). For many of these students, this is their first experience on a college campus, and it is Liberty’s chance to make a great first impression.
For many high school students and parents, the college preparation process can be intimidating, but Liberty aims to make families feel welcome at the university by inviting them to classes, providing informative sessions and putting on exciting events.
Once visitors check in and settle in at the dorms, the students are given a glimpse of the responsibility that goes along with being a college student. While the parents are learning more about the school’s financial information and degree programs, the students begin thinking about the next several years of life.
CFAW guest Richie Estevez is currently finishing up his last several months of high school and looks forward to the challenges that the college introduces.
“It’s definitely a busier environment than high school,” Estevez said. “There’s a lot more going on around campus to get involved with, and it forces you to step outside of your comfort zone more than ever.”
CFAW provides students with an opportunity step out of their comfort zone and to find out what they want to do and where they want to be during their college years.
“Being on a college campus, there are still cliques, but they seem to become the people who will encourage you and will help you excel in what you want to do,” Estevez said.
Estevez, a high school senior from New Jersey, plans to attend Liberty in pursuit of a business degree in the fall of 2014.
“College is a different ballgame when it comes to being successful,” Estevez said. “You have people from all different backgrounds who each have their strengths and weaknesses (and) are all striving to succeed in what they do. In order to stand out, I find that it’s important to focus in on what you’re good at and find your niche there.”
Estevez, like many other students, has his fears about college, but is learning to overcome them through CFAW.
“The classes are really big,” Estevez said. “I’ve never been in a classroom setting that is so big, so that’s making me a bit nervous.”
Justin Gortman, a current Liberty student, fell in love with Liberty when he attended CFAW in November of 2011.
“I had heard about CFAW and Liberty through a few friends who attended the school, so I figured I would give it a shot,” Gortman said. “After that weekend, I decided that Liberty is the school I want a degree from.”
Although Gortman attended community college for a year and a half after high school, he was ready to move away from home and have the freedom and responsibility that comes along with university life.
“During my first semester at Liberty, I had to learn time management real quick in order to be successful in the busy environment,” Gortman said. “With so much going on, sometimes it is hard to put school first.”
Although CFAW is usually fun for high school students with events such a concerts and game nights, it is also designed to prepare them for four years of college by giving them a little taste of Liberty.
“My favorite part of CFAW was convocation,” Estevez said. “It was an amazing experience to see several thousand students worshipping under one roof.”
In addition to Convocation and classes, students and parents were given the opportunity to meet with professors and coaches, attend a variety of sporting events and enjoy several activities run by Student Activities.
The next CFAW will take place February 20-23, 2014.