Community college can be a chance to explore and experiment. Some College of Eastern Idaho students know this well.
Hundreds of students visited CEI's campus Thursday evening for an open house.
The event allowed students to register for classes, apply for financial aid and scholarships, talk to professors from a variety of departments and even get some free cookies and candies for attending.
"I think it's wonderful because really when students come in to do their general education (requirements), they always have to take a psychology or sociology class," CEI adjunct sociology and psychology professor Dawn Cureton said. "Regardless of the major that they're in, that's part of the gen ed. So to have them come in and meet someone they're going to be working with and who's teaching them, it's so important and allows them to not be as nervous."
With core departments split up into three academic buildings, students from all walks of life attended the open house, including parents with children in strollers, students finishing their associate degrees and some who have never been on a college campus before.
Many faculty members dressed up in costume, including a professor who dressed up in a jester-like outfit, to help engage with students.
Michelle Allen, who is in her last year studying business management, said she "met a lot of nice people" during Thursday's event.
"The open house is going great," Allen said. "I want to open my own business and this has taught me all the skills that I knew I needed and a bunch I didn't know I needed."
Thursday's open house was also geared toward high school students who might be interested in joining CEI's "Jumpstart" program. CEI and Idaho Falls School District 91 recently began its partnered, dual-enrollment program — which allows rising juniors in District 91 to enroll at CEI and take up to six credits during the fall, spring and summer of their junior year. Students then can take nine credit hours during the fall and spring semester of their senior year, finishing their high school career with a full year of college already completed.
The credits also would go toward their D91 graduation requirements, according to the community college.
Qualifications for the program include: being a high school junior and at least 16 years old; a 3.0 GPA; parent permission and good high school attendance.
Communications and marketing director Todd Wightman said Thursday was a good chance for high school students interested in CEI's programs and classes.
"It's become an annual event," Wightman said. "It's an opportunity for the community to see what we do. ... This scenario makes it easier for people to talk to people face-to-face."