Centre College consistently meets and exceeds its recruitment goals, setting records for class size, academic profile, geographic reach and diversity with each new class. Much of this recruitment success can be attributed to the work of the Centre Ambassadors, the group of current students who lead prospective students and their families on tours of campus, answering any questions they may have and sharing their personal Centre Experiences along the way.
Formerly known as the Colonel Corps, the Centre Ambassadors program has been modified in order to enhance prospective students’ visits to Centre’s campus, beginning with a name change.
“As some of the first people prospective students interact with here at Centre, ambassadors have a very important role, and we wanted the name to indicate that these students are representatives of Centre College and of the Centre Experience,” explains Welcome Center Coordinator Alice Kaplan.
Serving as far more than tour guides, Centre Ambassadors are responsible for prospective students’ first impressions of Centre, which can often greatly influence someone’s decision to apply or not.
“The work these students do is so critical to the success of the Admission Office, which is in turn critical to the College’s success, and they often don’t get enough credit for their extraordinary work,” says Bob Nesmith, dean of admission and financial aid.
Changes have been made to the tours as well, ensuring that all elements of campus are showcased.
“We also extended our tour route to show off some locations the previous tours had missed, most notably the athletic fields and facilities,” says Kaplan.
With 43 percent of Centre students participating in athletics, the new tours will allow potential student-athletes to get a taste of Centre athletics from a student perspective.
In addition to giving tours on campus, many Centre Ambassadors host prospective students for overnight visits, giving them a firsthand look at what it’s like to be a Centre student.
“For many students, the overnight visit is really what cements Centre as a top choice on their college lists, so we strive to find the best students to host overnights and pair them with prospective students with similar interests,” says Kaplan.
Already this fall, the Admission staff has hosted two Overnight Previews, with another scheduled for this Friday night, Nov. 14. These Overnight Previews allow prospective students to visit with others and are typically planned to coincide with some activities offered on campus, such as a sporting event, a performance or a student activities event. These previews have been very popular so far, and the Centre Ambassador hosts have been instrumental to introducing these students to life outside of the classroom.
In conjunction with Overnight Previews, the Admission Office also often holds Open Houses, with the next one taking place this Sat., Nov. 15. During an Open House, visitors hear information about Centre, interact with panels of students and staff about various topics, speak with professors from different majors, and of course go on campus tours with the Centre Ambassadors.
“It’s a full day of information and activity, and we definitely couldn’t pull it off without the help of our Ambassadors,” adds Kaplan.
Moreover, according to Admission staff, student input carried a lot of weight during the process of refining the ambassador program as a whole.
“We sought a lot of different ideas and opinions from students while revamping the program,” reports Hannah Colliver, admission fellow and former member of the Colonel Corps. “We wanted to make sure this continued to be a program they were proud of and that they had the opportunity to share their own stories.
“Being a part of Colonel Corps during my time as a student had a huge impact on my college experience,” adds Colliver. “Sharing the joy and spirit of Centre to others has been a great adventure personally and now professionally.”
This chance for ambassadors to share personal stories and experiences was one of the main goals of the Admission staff, and one of the most rewarding aspects for participating students.
“They’ve really encouraged us to add our own personal stories and experiences when we give tours,” says Emma Comery ’16, who has served as a Centre Ambassador for three years. “It gives us a chance to show why Centre is so special to each of us in our own unique way.”
“Their personal stories and experiences, as well as their love for Centre, make this a job that they want to do and are excited to do,” adds Nesmith.
by John Ross Wyatt ’15