Category Archives: Admissions

Changing Policy

No matter where you work, there will be something that you disagree with. While not everything can be changed, as an employee there are some changes that you can push for! As a live-in professional, you might have to follow more rules that a person that doesn’t live on a college campus. Maybe you want to be able to paint your apartment or have someone live with you. Are there things you disagree with at your work place? Have you thought about changing the policy?

It’s hard to make changes right away. Certain things are completely okay to ask about, for example, having a partner or child live with you. If you have been hired as a live-in professional, you do need to know if these important people (that you probably are living with at the moment) can come with you to your new place. You will either be told yes or no. You might be the first person to ever ask that question and they might change or create a policy right then! Other things you might need to wait on. It’s hard to make big changes when you’re the new kid and don’t fully understand how your new work place works.

A good place to start is by asking questions. Why is the currently policy in place? One of the schools I interviewed at had a ban on pets in professional staff apartments. Why? Well, back when pets were allowed, one staff member had a LOT of cats and when she moved out, the entire apartment needed to be GUTTED because of the cat urine smell. Unfortunately, like a lot of policies our students must follow, one bad egg ruined it for the rest of us. When was the policy last updated? The current policy in place might be outdated! What your colleagues think of the policies in place? You might want your cat or dog to be able to live with you, but your other co-workers don’t have pets so while they’re not exactly pushing for a change, they might be supportive of you.

At your workplace, how do you go about changing the policy? Depending on the policy, it might be something you need to do with HR or it might be something that just stays in your department. What do other updated policies look like? Are you able to write it or would a legal team have to?

One of the most important things when changing a policy is having support from co-workers and supervisors. Depending on the policy itself or the school you work at, changing a policy can be a big deal. You might not be able to do it alone. If you are a newer employee, it is much easier to get things done if you have the support of those who have been around longer and have more connections at your institution.

While it’s not the easiest thing in the world, you can change a policy, even as an entry level employee. The important thing is to ask and to understand that it can take some time. Have you changed or implemented a policy at your campus? What’s a policy that you would like to change or implement?

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Catching The Bug

Before I went to grad school for student affairs, I didn’t know it was a thing. I literally had never heard of any of my friends going to grad school, let alone grad school for student affairs. I got my start in Undergrad U’s admissions office. Some of the counselors had gone to school for student affairs, others did not.

Fast forward a few years – I was applying to grad school and I found out a few girls I went to college with were as well. We were all involved in different things during college, but the common theme was we were INVOLVED. Between the five of us, I think we might have covered working/being a part of every functional area in Student Affairs – student activities, Greek life, residence life, conduct, career services, admissions, orientation…you name it, we did it!

Now that I’ve been working in student affairs for a few years, I’ve had some friends and students come to me saying, “I want to do what you do!” My first instinct is to tell them to run far, far away. But then I sit and tell them about the grad school process and the job search process and why I chose the program I did, blah blah blah. At first I was surprised that people kept asking me how to become a real life student affairs professional, but then I realized that if I had had the chance, I too would have bombarded somebody with questions. By the time I realized that I was going to go to grad school, it was too late – I had already graduated and I’m sure my manager at the mall knew nothing of GREs and grad school apps.

My feelings about student affairs…it’s all fun and games until you’re up at three in the morning for “cat removal”.

Two of the students who came to me (and are now in grad school – hope you’re reading this and laughing!) followed the traditional super involved student and BOOM straight into an awesome grad program immediately after graduation.

Two of my friends who came to me are on what I like to think of as a more slightly successful version of the track that I was on – they graduated, got jobs, and are now thinking of going back to school. While my jobs were a little less “traditional”, they are both currently working in college offices. That means they also have plenty of other resources when inquiring about how to apply to grad school or what to do with their lives.

I don’t know if it’s just because I’m IN student affairs that it suddenly seems like everyone and their mother wants to enter the field or if it actually is truly growing. Thoughts, oh lovely readers?

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What My Parents Think I Do

Awhile back, there were all these Facebook posts about what people in various professions did and how others thought of them.

Remember these bad boys?

I’m not exactly sure what’s going on in that last panel. For the most part, my job seems to consist of hitting my head against a wall and shaking my head while reading emails.

The majority of my friends understand what I do because they either are a student affairs professional or were in college recently enough to know what goes on. You know who has absolutely no idea what I do? My parents. They also have no idea while I get paid so little, but that’s a different entry. Below are some of the things my parents think I do (along with sarcastic things I either have said to them or wish I could say to them).

My parents think I work for admissions.

This is something my parents would probably understand. Also, admissions is what got me into this profession in the first place. However, my mom spent way too much of my graduate school career telling her friends that I was majoring in “admissions”.

My parents still think I’m a tour guide.

Every so often, my mom will ask if I had to give a tour recently. No mom, I haven’t given any tours in four years.

My parents think I’m an RA.

Or more correctly, the house mother at a 1950’s era boarding school. My mom also thought that is what RAs were when I was a freshman. She literally asked if they did bed checks. In front of like half my floor. I was mortified.

My parents think I’m a baby sitter.

They’ll ask me what I did with my residents while I was on call. “Well, first we went to the park, then watched Dora the Explorer, then had ice cream!” No.

My parents think I’m a cop.

This is more from my dad than my mom. He asks if I “bust parties” and “scare kiddies”. If only…

My parents think I’m a student.

Whenever I talk about being lonely, my mom tells me that I’ll have so much fun once the “other” students arrive. I always have to remind my mom that I work here, I can’t go to socials and parties with the students.

My parents give up and don’t ask questions about work.

Yep. This happens.

How do you explain to others what you do? Is anybody else’s family as clueless as mine can be?

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TBT – That Night at The Cheesecake Factory

The great moments of your life won’t necessarily be the things you do. They’ll also be the things that happen to you. Now, I’m not saying you can’t take action to affect the outcome of your life. You have to take action. And you will! But never forget, that on any day, you could step out the front door, and your whole life could change forever.

The above quote is from only one of the greatest shows on television, How I Met Your Mother. I kept trying out ways to start this entry, but it turns out that Ted Moseby makes more sense than I do. Well, except for the fact it’s taking seven years for him to tell his children the story of how he met their mother…but that’s probably an entry for a different type of blog.

Both of the times I was invited to go on trips during my time as a student employee at my undergrad’s admissions office, I did not stop and consider what it meant for future-me. I was more concerned about the chance to go somewhere awesome with some of my friends and talk to prospective students. So, after a long day of travel and speaking with students, when we picked what restaurant to go to, it didn’t seem like a life changing decision.

So I’m sitting in the Cheesecake Factory eating a burrito that’s literally the size of my forearm (there’s a picture floating around on Facebook to prove this) and all of the sudden it hits me that these two admissions officers that are with me are real, live, paid professionals. They do what I love doing except for more than minimum wage. It was on that lovely night however many years ago that I realized the student affairs profession exists.

This is kind of how that moment felt.

All of this relates to the above quote so well. I hadn’t purposely sought out the admissions job because I wanted to help people or anything. I needed a job and once they found out I could walk backwards pretty well, the office liked me. It wasn’t until I had been there awhile that I realized that I liked what I was doing. I took the opportunities that came to me and did something with them. I could have just enjoyed my free trip and large burrito, but after that moment, I began investigating how I could one day have a job in student affairs. I read things online, I asked all of the admissions officers how they got their start.

Do any of you have a defining moment that put you on track for where you are today? Tell me about it in the comments! One of the things I loved about grad school was hearing how all my classmates (and professors) tripped, fell, and landed in student affairs. Everybody’s story is so different!

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Starting Up

Once I actually decided that I was going to start a blog again, I struggled. I kept going back and forth with my emotions. I would think about how I had started so many blogs before, just to drop them after a few boring entries. Then I would think about how I was excited I was to be starting my new job and to really be able to focus on a certain area and not just “my life”. Annnndddd then I would go read another blog and get depressed because they had better design and wittier things to say.

Suddenly, I remembered something. I used to be PAID to blog. True story, I was one of the student workers at the admissions office that helped start our blogging site. I blogged for the school for nearly four full years. By the time I was a senior, I was in charge of the bloggers. How did I forget that little detail? If I did it for a living then, I can do it now.

Seriously. I am sitting here in shock that I managed to forget that I was once a paid blogger. I was a paid blogger before blogging was even cool! Okay, enough with that rant.

So what did I write about then? Not that I’m going to reveal my identity, but I can still find my old entries by searching my full name and my college’s name. I wrote a lot about my life, but since it was for admissions, it was rather sugar-coated. I also put lots of pictures in. I also wrote about what was going on at school, like plays and club events. There wasn’t much of a focus.

Once our blogging site really got going, I had a lot of readers and a lot of comments. Some of the comments were from my co-workers, some were spam (blahh), but I had plenty from prospective students and parents of prospective students. It was great interacting with my readers! Of course, that was two years or so after I started. So I guess I just have to remember that it takes time.

One of the lessons I’ve carried away is not to write when I’m angry. Yes, right now I’m talking a bit about being unmotivated and slightly frustrated, but that’s different than ranting over and over again about minor issues. I mentioned earlier that my college entries were sugar-coated – if I had ranted about drama or how hard school was or how miserable certain things made me, students would NOT have wanted to come to my school. And I’d probably be fired. So I could write about endless bad parent encounters and the things I don’t like about my job…I don’t. Or I put a positive spin on it. How student affairs of me!

I made printed off a blog planner from the internet and one of the sections on it is “Blogger to Encourage”. Maybe this is my way of encouraging myself for this week. 

So readers…if I’ve accumulated any this past month…what motivates you and keeps you going?

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What NOT To Wear

Now, I know my professional closet can still use some sprucing up, but this entry is more about the lovely ensembles I’ve seen some potential students sporting during their visits to campus. I am hoping that my colleagues will find this humorous, that my former co-workers from will have tears in their eyes from laughing so hard, and that any prospective students reading this will take this to heart and write down everything I say.

But seriously. I don’t know if I’m the only one paying attention here, but these are some of the things that I’ve seen students wearing on tours: crop tops, sky high heels, flip flops in the rain, shorts and jeans with holes in them, full suits, clothing advertising another college…the list goes on. The particular prospective student that inspired this entry decided that teeny tiny yellow shorts was something appropriate to wear to an on-campus event.

One thing prospective students need to keep in mind is the “feel” of the event they are attending on campus. You might want to dress one way for an interview with an admissions office and another way for an overnight event with social activities. If you are unsure of what to wear for a visit to campus, ask around! For example, if you are planning on going to an open house, you can ask friends that may have already been to one. You can also call the admissions office and ask what activities are part of the day. You can even ask the person on the other end of the phone what to wear, especially if it is a day-long or weekend-long event. I promise, if “what should I wear” is your “strangest” question, you’re fine. Admissions officers have heard A LOT worse.

Another important thing is to check out the weather forecast, especially if you are visiting a school far from home. Spring in New England looks (and feels!) a lot different than spring in Arizona. If it’s going to rain, bring an umbrella and shoes you won’t fall out of. If it’s going to be hot, wear a nice short sleeve shirt (nothing with large logos or writing), but make sure to bring a sweater in case you’re sitting in an ice box – I MEAN- air conditioned office. You definitely want to be comfortable during your campus visit!

The last thing I want prospective students to keep in mind is to be prepared. If you are doing a road trip and looking at ten different colleges, bring clothing for all types of events and weather. Bring extras in case a button falls off or you spill something. Even if you are only visiting a nearby campus for an afternoon, having a spare sweater or shirt in your car won’t hurt you.

So prospective students, as you head out on your college tours, remember dress to impress! And any colleagues, feel free to share your “favorite” student ensembles in the comments.

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