A Place for Finding Friends: Admitted Students Take In Bradley's Offerings

Admitted and prospective future Bradley students, parents and guardians gathered in droves last week to see what makes Bradley University  stand out and inform their final decisions. 

With over 400 in attendance, parents and students went into separate sections to address their similar but separate needs. After reconvening for lunch, attendees visited with representatives from campus organizations, met with faculty, and explored the residence halls and campus in general. 

The event was the largest the admissions office has hosted on campus since the pandemic, according to enrollment representative Katie Johnson. 

“I think today is really about overcoming and community,” Johnson said. “Overcoming everything that's happened in the past couple years and bringing the hopefully new Bradley community, these new students, together.”

Finding community was a primary concern for many of the students, a fear Johnson addressed by pointing out they were in good company.

“I would say the smaller classes (stood out), I really like that,” said Cassie Shepherd, a potential Bradley student interested in the physical therapy program. “It felt like a community. When I was walking on campus, it just felt like it was the right place to be.

“I think she could have gotten an education anywhere,” said Jessica Cusack, Shepherd’s parent. “But the more events we come to, the more I think she will thrive here. And that's the difference. 

“I think she would've gotten lost in another community. It really stuck out to me when people say that 10 years later, they still remember the names of (their professors) and they still call them if they need advice.”

Kit Silverman, a potential student interested in the art program, made sure to ask questions about the disability program for deaf people. They were satisfied with the response, and the potential for community aided their decision.

Though pleased with the size of the school, Silverman said their decision largely hinged on the residence hall tour later that afternoon and the opportunities for LGBTQ+ students. They were excited to hear about the Queer Coalition and Common Ground student organizations.

Though the small class sizes were a common selling point among both students and parents, the larger size of Peoria also stood out.

“Coming in, I didn't know what to expect because I've never been to Peoria,” said Kathy Taylor, mother to a student interested in the computer science program. “Being from Illinois, I'm used to cornfields, you know? I wasn't expecting the tall buildings or anything. So when I came, I was like, ‘Oh, this is actually nice.’”


— Jenevieve Rowley-Davis