Let's go back a few years. When I was a senior in high school, like most of my peers, I went through the college visit process and frantically tried to collect as much information as possible about each, before I had to decide on one. Traveling from state to state, city to city, and college to college, I never thought I would ever be so busy again.
And then, years later, as a student of one of those very same colleges, I started working for DU Admission, where I have learned firsthand about the work that actually goes into putting on one of those visit programs. Between arranging class visits and overnight stays, calling to confirm visits, and setting up presentations and panels, there are a remarkable number of tasks that need to get done to ensure that a visit program goes smoothly. This was simply unimaginable until I started working here.
Helping the office arrange these visit programs has definitely kept me busy. Add to my duties here a full set of classes, a senior thesis, a visa application for my upcoming summer in China, and trying to squeeze in as much pre-graduation time with friends as possible, and recently there have been quite a few late nights and early mornings. Honestly, though, I’ve never felt more excited or energized about the school I attend or the office in which I work (though the coffee certainly helps, shout-out to Alex at the front desk).
Bright and early during a Journey to DU. Note the coffee on the right.
As an admission employee, I like to think I have a decent handle on some of those “numbers-ey" pieces of information about the university. I know the application deadlines, the number of majors DU offers, the student to professor ratio, the average class size, the number of residence halls on campus, the year DU dissolved its football team, and a whole host of other facts, figures, and trivia that I’ll spare you from. Come on a visit program and an admission counselor and tour guide will be happy to tell you all about them.
Being a current student, however, gives me the unique opportunity to talk to prospective students about those things that can’t be quantified, those aspects of the college experience that don’t fit neatly into a set of bullet points. What is it like to be a student in Denver? What was the best class I ever took, or the best professor I ever had? How did I adjust to transferring to DU in the middle of my first year of college? What do I hope to do after I graduate? Statistics and facts, important as they are, can be gleaned from the back of a pamphlet or a slide on a PowerPoint – the value of those personal connections we can make with prospective students and their families simply can’t be measured.
For instance, at the first visit session I worked, I ended up sharing ice cream with a prospective student who happened to be interested in both of my majors. At another, I bumped into a student who was trying to decide between the two colleges I've actually attended. On both of these occasions, I got to speak with these families at length, and not only did they walk out with a more detailed perspective from a current student, but my work felt more rewarding and enjoyable than ever. Quite frankly, I never wanted the visit day to end! Another time, during a break-out session for applicants interested in the Honors program, I was able to speak about my experience as an Honors student, and the profound impact that the program has had on me intellectually over these four years. All of these experiences pushed me to reflect on my time as both a DU student and employee, and led me to realize that I honestly couldn’t have made a better college decision.
My awesome calling team!
Overall, it’s been a demanding but immensely rewarding visit season. And although I’m excited for the work load to die down a bit, and also excited to see what new opportunities await me after I graduate this June, I know I’m truly going to miss this school, this office, and this city that I’ve learned to call home.
Christian Allen - Communications Fellow, Undergraduate Admission