Thursday, September 25, 2008

Thursday On The Road: Sharing Tables

Who said admissions counselors can't have a little fun? The picture shows the representatives from High Point University, Cleveland College (Tenn.), Marshall University (W. Va.), Belmont Abbey and me shopping during our lunch break.

This week I am delighted to be traveling in a group with representatives from North Carolina and around the country. Each year our universities travel to just about every county in the state on one, organized schedule. Our professional organization, the Carolinas Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (CACRAO), works with local high schools to coordinate the schedule, and all of the representatives agree to travel together as a service to the state.

At the college fairs students sometimes assume we are competing with each other to get students to apply and attend our institution specifically. Our traditional sports rivalries are sometimes thought to be present in the college admissions process too. For instance, "How can the NC State and Carolina representatives share a table, much less stand beside each other? Aren't they rivals?"

The truth is college fairs organized by CACRAO are not about the traditional rivalries. As admissions professionals we are dedicated to getting students interested in attending college in general. We are not trying to steal students from each other -- we want students to find the best college for themselves. We all have unique characteristics to offer, and we want you to find the best fit.

Outside of the fairs we attend, we respect each other as colleages and friends. We enjoy learning about each other's universities. Each representative had interesting college experiences themselves, and each took a different path to get to their current position. On top of the amazing students I meet daily, I get to know individuals from around the country that are dedicated to advancing the education of all students.

On the road we share tables and set up our displays side by side. We caravan to all of the events and sometimes carpool. We eat meals together and hang out during free time. Most importantly, we share a sincere interest in your future, and we work together to help as many students as we can realize their dreams.