Making a first impression

Aaron Gabay ‘18 leads a tour along the Quad. [Photo courtesy of Chuck Zovko, Lafayette Communications]

Admissions matches ambassadors to prospective students

 

With a new staff position focusing on campus visitation, the office of admissions created an initiative to focus on experiences closer to home.

The new position concentrates campus visitation efforts into Assistant Director of Admissions Ed Bianchi’s office, which now manages the tour guides, called the Lafayette College Ambassadors.

“When [prospective] students come to campus, the goal is for them to spend time with [current students],” Bianchi said. “It’s finding the right tour guides for different special requests to make sure that the experience is as good as it can get.”

The touring experience, led by the Lafayette College ambassadors, is a major contributor in drawing a larger and more diverse applicant pool to campus and merited more attention than was previously given to it, according to Vice President of Enrollment Management Greg MacDonald.

“The Ambassador Program connects students from all around campus, it reflects the diversity we’ve achieved in our recruitment, and it provides leadership opportunities for students,” MacDonald said. “We want to make sure that every student who visits, leaves [Lafayette] thinking that this is a viable option for them.”

Bianchi said that is why it is necessary to ensure that the tour guide positions are being filled with the right staff.

“A lot of what I do is trying to make sure those relationships and those connections are made,” Bianchi said. “I need to know them as best as I can to make sure I can make the best match-ups when visitors come in.”

In the past, the assistant director of admissions was traveling as much as the other admissions officers, spreading the word about Lafayette by visiting more regions of the country and more countries around the world.

Now, Bianchi’s position does not travel as much. Bianchi is on campus 90 percent of the time in the fall season, so he can focus entirely on campus visitation.

Another way that admissions has altered its approach is that it is now looking for tour guides to focus on personal experiences rather than facts that are easily accessible online, according to MacDonald.

“The future of admissions will not be about more brochures and mailings, but action-oriented approaches,” MacDonald said.

These new approaches, according to MacDonald, are “driving unprecedented growth in [Lafayette’s] applicant pool.”

Pat Corcoran ‘17, a current tour guide has noticed the rise in visitations as a result of the change.

“It’s a neat thought that us as tour guides and Ambassadors can play instrumental roles in influencing prospective students’ futures just by sharing our passion for Lafayette,” Corcoran wrote in an email.

The Lafayette admissions team is hopeful that its efforts will drive more prospective students to visit and apply to the college in order to grow the community.

When asked about how he envisions the future of the Lafayette student body, MacDonald said, “I expect it to be more diverse than it is now, and if the present trend continues, the students will have stronger traditional quality metrics.”

About Morgan Sturm

Morgan Sturm '19 is the Managing Editor for The Lafayette. She is a Policy Studies major and Spanish minor.

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