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Life as a Juniata Student Interviewer

Caroline Benfer ’21

I interviewed with Terri Bollman-Dalansky for the student assistant admissions counselor position in the middle of the Summer over zoom in 2020. I had a nice shirt on and tried to find a relatively blank wall to set up my laptop in front of. I think in my head I had hoped that “normal life” would resume in time to get back on campus and meet perspective students.

After learning that the pandemic was far from over, I realized that being a student interviewer would look different compared to friends who had the job in previous years. When I found out that I had the Juniata Associate position I was still planning on spending my Fall semester at Raystown Field Station. Being remote from campus and with the limited number of prospective students coming to Juniata, myself and the two other student interviewers were not able to conduct any interviews during the Fall semester.

Once returning to main campus for the Spring semester, myself and my fellow interviewers received training and have had the opportunity to shadow admissions interviews and conduct our own solo interviews with students. So far, I’ve really enjoyed this job, even though we can’t see when each other is smiling or joking around, I think my personal ability to read people’s body language has improved and I feel through this experience I almost know how to talk with people in a more meaningful way compared to pre-COVID. We’re all learning how to deal with this new normal on a day-to-day basis, and meeting and connecting with families is helping me feel like good things are headed our way.

Being a tour guide and working at the front desk in the admissions building, I feel like I’ve had just about every kind of position in the enrollment office, but I can say with conviction that I get the most out of the student interview experience. Being a student interviewer, I get to know so much more about the students, and rather than just talk at the students like on tour, I get to have a personal, in depth conversation with each student that I meet with. I’m hoping as the semester is wrapping up I’ll be able to conduct more interviews with prospective students so I can assist more high schoolers with the college admissions process during these wild times.