What to Expect at a JWU Open House

This article was originally published in August 2021 but has been updated to reflect the most current tour agenda.

Figuring out where you’ll spend the next four years of your life is a huge decision. You’ll want to look around and get at least some information. Will you be happy there? Do they have courses and degrees in topics that interest you? Are they supportive? Can you network and make connections? Have they created opportunities to pursue careers in your field?

Websites are great for gathering info, but there’s nothing quite like actually stepping on campus to learn more about a program and try to picture yourself entering a lab or kitchen. Sure, you can order shoes online and know your size, but how will you know they fit until you try them on? Open houses are a perfect opportunity to try on your academic program, and JWU offers tons of them.

What happens at a JWU Open House?

JWU Providence Director of Admissions Visitor Programs Christine Sullivan provides a step-by-step overview of the two types of an Open House.

For students interested in the College of Business, College of Health & Wellness, College of Arts & Sciences, College of Engineering & Design and College of Hospitality Management on JWU’s Downcity Campus:

“When students attend a Downcity Campus Open House, they have the option to do as much or as little as they would like. The menu of options includes a welcome from a member of senior administration, a presentation to assist with applying to and affording college and a chance to talk with deans and faculty about all of the programs JWU has to offer. The department resource fair gives you the opportunity to talk to learn about all the resources on campus available to you – and you can even have lunch in our dining hall to test that out!

"Talking with our current students is the best way to really feel like a JWU Wildcat. You can attend a current student panel to ask those burning questions, and our student ambassadors will lead you through campus so you can explore and see all that we offer for yourself.

"Attendees also receive a presentation on applying to and affording college, getting tips from the experts on the admissions and financial aid processes.

Students interested in checking out the Harborside Campus can catch a bus from the Downcity Campus for a separate tour.

"Basically, an Open House is a chance to talk to multiple people about what it’s like to attend JWU, what you’ll learn, how to finance your education and what you can do with your new skills and knowledge, all of which are helpful in figuring out if JWU is for you."

For students interested in the College of Food Innovation & Technology (CFIT):

"The CFIT Open House is held on the Harborside Campus, where all of the facilities for that college are located. Similarly, students attending the CFIT Open House receive a welcome from the dean and an opportunity to meet with campus resources, such as Residential Life, Student Financial Services and academic program representatives. Then a CFIT faculty panel shares information about their programs, allowing students opportunities to ask questions and to experience a live culinary demonstration.

"Student ambassadors provide a walking tour of the Harborside Campus’ Cuisinart Center for Culinary Education, labs, dining halls, library and more while answering questions about what life at JWU is really like.

The tour includes an exploration of JWU’s Culinary Arts Museum, where students have another opportunity to ask Admissions staff and CFIT faculty questions, and includes an option to dine at the Harborside Café where JWU students have meal plans.

Finally, anyone interested in exploring the Downcity Campus can catch a Wildcat Wheels shuttle bus from the Harborside Campus to do so."

two young women wearing JWU CAT shirts excitedly greet drivers on the side of the road
JWU CAT Ambassadors are on hand at Open House to show students and families around campus


"Basically, an Open House is a chance to talk to multiple people about what it’s like to attend JWU,
what you’ll learn, how to finance your education and what you can do with your new skills and knowledge, all of which are helpful in figuring out if JWU is for you."
- Director of Admissions Visitor Programs Christine Sullivan

When are Open Houses held?

JWU offers several Open House experiences between the fall and the spring to give students and their families multiple options to plan their visit.

Charlotte Open House options

If you’re interested in studying in Charlotte, North Carolina, you can check out several opportunities to attend a campuswide Open House and learn more about JWU’s academic programs in the Queen City. You’ll take a student-led campus tour, see JWU Charlotte's classrooms and labs, and also get to view residence halls and athletic facilities. Admissions staff will provide helpful presentations, and an information fair with students, faculty, staff and admissions officers will round out your experience.

Providence Open House options

At JWU’s Providence campus, in addition to several available dates for a campuswide Open House to learn more about studying in Rhode Island's "Creative Capital" and tour the campus, individual open houses are offered for Business, Food Innovation & Technology, Health & Wellness, Arts & Sciences, Hospitality and Engineering & Design. The College of Food Innovation & Technology (CFIT) Open House will also include a culinary demonstration as well as a look at real culinary and baking lab experiences.

photo of a woman dressed in chef whites presenting to a group of people
A culinary-specific Open House includes a culinary demonstration

(Note: The Dietetics & Applied Nutrition program combines classes from the Colleges of Food Innovation & Technology and Health & Wellness, and students interested in this major are encouraged to register for the CFIT Open House.)

What will I get out of a JWU Open House?

In addition to having a chance to talk with the dean of the college and, in an intimate classroom setting, a faculty member who might end up being your instructor, you’ll have an invaluable opportunity to mix and mingle with current JWU students who know more than anyone what it’s like to work and play at JWU.

Noah Shanshiry, who is graduating with a B.S. in Culinary Arts and Food Service Management in 2022 and an MBA – Hospitality in 2023, shares his perspective from working an open house as a student ambassador for the past four years:

“I can say that JWU’s Open House experiences are very different from other schools. This is a good thing, though! They allow prospective students and their families to talk to current students, not just faculty and staff members. Prospective students want to speak to current students about why they love JWU and their journey to get here, and our ambassadors paint a picture for them of what being a JWU student is like. I can say from personal experience, sharing some of my favorite moments on campus with prospective students made them smile, laugh, and feel at home. This is one of the most rewarding parts of an open house, getting a nervous high school student to feel at home and see how they can shine here at JWU.”

a photo taken through a classroom window of students chatting as they take seats
Explore JWU's classrooms and labs while taking a campus tour at Open House


Kiana Davis '23 shares how much value she found in attending JWU Charlotte's Open House during her college search:

"Before attending my first Open House, I knew nothing about Johnson & Wales outside of the majors it offered. After attending Open House, I discovered what classes would be like, I talked to my actual professors that I have now, I met new friends and most importantly I discovered what it felt like to be a part of a community. JWU offered me the warmest genuine welcome as soon as I stepped on campus. I was not expecting to meet actual professors my first time on campus, but I did! I also met my best friend, and I now officially know what it means to be a part of a community. Now I get to help offer that same sense of community to new students!"

Alyssa Stalaboin ’23 also thinks that Open Houses are great events for prospective students to take advantage of.

"During our Open House events, JWU provides a great example of how we incorporate our hands-on learning and experiential education to prospective families," she shares. "Not only do the students get to chat with professors and staff members, but they also get to see great examples of our students' work in our hallways, in classrooms, and verbally by our professors. JWU has it all to create success after graduation!"

A Student's View of A JWU Open House

Marita Hurn '23, who has designed her own major in Food Marketing Communications, is a member of JWU's Collegiate Ambassador Team (CAT). She shared a taste of attending an Open House on JWU's Downcity and Harborside campuses in Providence, including a chef demonstration:

How do I attend a JWU Open House?

You can register online for a JWU Charlotte Open House or for a JWU Providence Open House.

It's not every day that you get to meet with the professors and deans of the college, or with students who were in your very shoes and faced with the same decision about where to attend. Take advantage and bring all the questions you can think of — or just enjoy getting to see what it feels like to attend JWU!

Have questions that can't wait until you attend an Open House? No problem! JWU's admissions team is here for you. Not sure where to begin? Check out 5 Questions to Ask Your Admissions Rep

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