Admissions partners with groups to increase diversity, opportunities

Markle Hall of Administration (Hana Isihara ’17).

Vice President of Enrollment Greg MacDonald and the Lafayette Admissions team are looking to facilitate diversity at the college, be more desirable to prospective students and increase the amount of opportunities around the world.

MacDonald recently announced in a campus-wide email that the college has formed partnerships with both Global Citizen Year and Sponsors for Educational Opportunity.

“College recruitment is changing,” MacDonald said. “It’s not just college fairs and high school visits anymore. It’s about developing strong partnerships with college access organizations. We started developing new partnerships outside of Posse. In 2011, we started reaching out to other organizations and were hustling to develop these new relationships.”

One of the benefits from pairing with these programs is that there is no obligation pertaining to the amount of student interest the college has to aggregate.

“There is no contract saying we have to take an X number of students,” MacDonald said. “It’s an understanding that we will work together, but there are no promises beyond that. There might be a year where we get no students, and there may be a year where we get several.”

Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO) is a company that helps underprivileged students gain access to colleges and universities in the United States. Lafayette is the first college with which SEO has decided to partner.

MacDonald said that SEO initiated the talks about a partnership with Lafayette.

“They came to us, which is flattering,” he said. “SEO visited with us in April, they came back in August and then they pitched why they wanted to partner with Lafayette specifically.”

After watching the presentation, MacDonald and others agreed that this would benefit the Lafayette community in a myriad of ways to form a direct partnership with SEO.

“Their values and our values really line up nicely,” he said.

Lafayette was influenced to partner with Global Citizen Year partly because one current student, Barker Carlock ’17, is an alum of the program. Global Citizen Year “organizes bridge (or gap) year programs through service learning opportunities in Senegal, Ecuador, Brazil and India,” according to the email from MacDonald.

“[Carlock] has been talking for the last couple of years about creating a partnership with them,” MacDonald said.

Carlock said he wanted to bring the program to campus because of the powerful experience it gave him.

“The bridge year provided me the space to mature and get exposure to a culture different than my own,” Carlock wrote in an email. “I went from a 99% all white Christian suburban community in the South to a 99% Muslim community in Senegal. GCY’s inversion gave me a perspective and growth that can only be characterized as life changing.”

“And because of GCY, the bridge year is no longer for those that can afford it as in each cohort 1/3 pay no tuition, 1/3 pay supplemented, 1/3 pay full,” he added.

Having students take a gap year with GCY before coming to the college would be beneficial to the college as a whole, MacDonald said.

“We all agreed that students coming to Lafayette with global experiences before starting their studies could add an interesting dimension to our program,” he said.

MacDonald is one of many who is excited about the partnership with these companies. He, along with others, is excited for the future of the enrollment of the college.

“It’s a light touch partnership,” he said. “We will see how it goes.”

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