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5 things I’ve learned after working in the admissions office for a semester

Madison Wrightstone ’23

Every time I tell someone that I work in the admission office, I’m immediately met with the statement “Oh, so you’re a tour guide?” I have never once given a tour (the fear of getting embarrassingly out of breath walking up a hill makes this an incredibly unappealing endeavor to me). My role in the admissions office is much more behind the scenes where I work directly under two of our admission counselors here on campus (shoutout to Kat and Molly!). There is so much that happens in the admissions office beyond just giving tours and mailing out acceptances every spring. As a student working in the admissions office for the first time this year, here are 5 of the biggest things that I learned about admissions that I never knew before.

1. Admission counselors are people too

Kat Swantak, Assistant Dean of Admission

I know from my own college decision journey I never once thought about the people behind all of the college communications I was receiving for three years. It can be easy to picture a faceless person behind the computer sending you thousands of emails and letters, but it’s actually the opposite. The admissions team at Juniata is full of a wide range of personalities who are incredible people you get the chance to know – take advantage of them and all they have to offer!

2. You learn a lot about yourself through helping others

Molly Thompson, Senior Associate Dean of Admission

I know that I struggled with trying to understand everything when I was going through the college admissions process. Being able to help answer prospective students’ questions is something that I find to be incredibly rewarding and has shown me just how gratifying it can be to help others. We are all vaults of knowledge and being able to use mine to help others improves not only my personal communication skills, but also betters me through the dialogues that I create with prospective students.

3. People love stories

You can hear things from admissions counselors all day long, but sometimes the most reassuring voice can be the person who was just in your shoes a few years earlier. People will hurl facts and figures at you all day long, but the power of a student’s story can bring all the abstract pieces of information together and make it all make sense.

4. Everyone’s admissions journey is different

My college admissions journey is different from all my friends and is going to be different from my sister’s when she starts her college search in two years. The customizability of the admissions process is something that lends an advantage to you and you should not be afraid to make it your own. Nothing you do is necessarily wrong even if it’s different from those around you. Don’t be afraid to advocate and go after what it is that YOU need.

5. Working in admissions is one of the best jobs on campus

Between the people you work with, having flexibility both in hours and tasks, and being able to work at your own pace, time always flies when I’m here. The world of college admissions is one that seemed impenetrable and intensely scary to me two years ago, but now here I am, and it’s nothing like I thought it was. Being able to brag about the school I love (and get paid for it – always a plus) is something that makes my job even better.