UIW Hosts Cardinal Experience Weekend

November 10, 2023

The decision on where to pursue a higher education is a daunting one for many young high school students. Each year, UIW’s Office of Admissions aims to make that choice a bit easier by hosting them at Cardinal Experience Weekend.

This year’s Cardinal Experience weekend was held Sunday, Nov. 5 and Monday, Nov. 6. The two-day event kicked off with Cardinal Preview Day, which is dedicated to giving visitors a chance to engage with faculty members, hear from attending students, and explore educational opportunities that can be found at the Nest.

Dillon Duke, assistant director of Campus Events for the Office of Admissions, and Gabby Zuniga, admission event programming manager, are responsible for coordinating this event. They hope to help students envision themselves on UIW’s campus and feel confident in their choice if UIW is ultimately their decision. They also collaborate with other departments like Financial Aid and Residence Life to provide helpful resources to answer any questions that visiting families may have.

“Through program-specific campus tours and student panels, being able to eat in our SEC dining hall and speak with representatives from our academic programs, families leave with an understanding of what UIW offers as they navigate the college selection process,” Duke explained.

The second day featured an event called Cardinal Classroom, which invited high school students to sit in on UIW classes and lectures. Duke noted that the small class sizes at UIW is one of the most appealing factors the University has to offer, allowing students to feel recognized, present, and engaged within UIW's halls.

“When we can bring a prospective student on campus to see that class size firsthand, that small class size transforms from a fun fact to a tangible experience that they will use in their decision process.”

Fresh off welcoming the largest first year in college (FTIC) class in history, UIW’s admissions staff have witnessed the success and payoff of events like Cardinal Experience Weekend that reassure students that at UIW, they are more than just a number.


“This record-setting class of students chose the University of the Incarnate Word because here they have found a very special place where they feel valued and where they know they belong,” said UIW President Dr. Thomas M. Evans of the 2023 FTIC class size.

“For our guests, seeing current students work alongside their own faculty helps them see the personal relationships our teachers have with our students,” Duke explained. “Personally, I love seeing our students promote their major with the same passion they have for the curriculum.”

With the next Cardinal Preview Day set for February 18, Duke already has plans for what he and his department would like to include. He hopes to involve more of UIW’s student body so that they can showcase student organizations and other engaging programs that provide new opportunities for incoming students.