A Day in the Life of an Admissions Traveler

I may spend most of my time talking about fitness and wellness on this blog, but I spend most of my time working as the associate director of admissions at Washington College.

My work is divided into three parts: territory manager, supervisor, and communications manager. I thought it might be fun to share a day in the life of one of my work hats: territory manager.

I got the idea for this when I met a fellow Marylander at Garden of the Gods. She noticed me taking a picture of Gus (our goose mascot), and asked what I was doing. I told her I recruited for a small, private liberal arts college in Maryland. That’s when I found out that she grew up near College Park! As she walked away, I heard her remark to her travel companion that ‘it would be cool to travel around and recruit students.’

Well, yes and no. Mostly, yes. Let me explain. It’s a pretty high-energy, high-demanding job. On the plus side, we get to share enthusiasm for a ‘product’ we love: education. We get to share excitement for our institution, and help students realize their interests and future possibilities. Those parts are great. The business side of the job, and the actual recruitment can be overwhelming.

For fun (I mean, like I think push-ups are fun), I’ll share a sample day from my recent trip to Colorado. My territory includes the center of the U.S., and mostly I travel to Colorado and Texas. What does that mean? I plan targeted trips to visit high schools, attend college fairs, and meet with interested students and school counselors. I share the #wacluv.

A Day in the Life of an Admissions Traveler:

4:45 a.m. – wake up time! Stretches and a little wake-up yoga.
5:20 a.m. – shower time, get ready, eat breakfast (apple and banana, keeping it light)
6:00 a.m. – on the road – 1:15 hour drive this morning (everything in CO is so far apart)

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My travel uniform – all the maroon and black things!

7:35 a.m. – arrive at the first school, set-up for a college fair
8:05 – 9:45 a.m. – College Fair for one school, all high school grades – good conversations about IB credits, applications, questions about majors, atheltics, and clubs.

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A typical fair set-up – banner, poster stands, all the brochures, Gus.

10:00 a.m. – Starbucks run! #NationalCoffeeDay Then on to the next school, 30 min. drive
11:00 a.m. – School #2 of the day. Great visit with the school counselor. No students this time!
11:45 a.m. – Drive to the next school, 45 minutes plus a little traffic. Nibble some of my mixed nut concoction and all the water in the car. Colorado is both dry and at a higher elevation, so water consumption is a JOB.
1:00 p.m. – School #3, final school, of the day. We have a current student from this school, so I met with all 3 of the counselors, shared updates. One student met with me this time. Great conversation about double majoring, prepping a visit to campus, and service opportunities.
2:00 p.m. – Head to my next hotel (#4 of this trip) to check-in and get my stuff together for the evening college fair.
3:00 p.m. – WORKOUT time! I usually like to workout in the morning, but with late-night college fairs combined with early morning drives and meetings with schools, the late afternoon works best for me. I do a 2-mile treadmill run and finish with some TurboKick moves/practice. I just did an extra training for Turbo and am SO excited to share the new moves with my students!

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Even sporting the #wacluv during my workout!

4:00 p.m. – Shower, clean-up, get ready to leave for the evening college fair. 50 minute drive.
5:30 p.m. – Arrive, park at the county football stadium and grab the bus to the school – the fair organizers asked us to please consider parking far away and catching a bus to the fair, so the parents and students could park at the school, where there is limited parking. For our ‘trouble,’ we received gift cards (I took a Starbucks one thank youuuuuu).
5:45 p.m. – Arrive at the school, set-up my table. Head to dinner – they’ve catered Noodles & Company

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Another fair set-up! Oh my! Note the bleachers in EVERY one of my college fair tables – oh the joys of being at the end of the alphabet and usually in the back gym…

6:20 p.m. – Head to my table and get ready for the fair to start at 6:30
6:30 – 8:00 p.m. – College Fair! I met with lots of interested students. We have a current student from the host school on campus, so it was nice to meet some of her former classmates. Lots of questions about theatre, premedical studies, psychology, biology, and political science. Most of the students (about 20) who approached my table asked for the ‘overview’ which is essentially our elevator speech. In this area, I always refer to our map and show aerial photos of campus – this gets a huge response for people used to seeing mountains in the skyline. Overall, a good fair for us!
8:15 p.m. – Catch the bus back to the parking lot and prep for the drive home. Only 45 minutes going this direction. Chat with the husband (thanks to bluetooth) on the way home.
9:00 p.m. – Re-organize my college items to prep for the next day of visits. Enter all of the
information cards that students completed at the fair in our data system. Lay out clothes
for the next day. Work on a few communications items, also work on items for the upcoming Oktoberfest event for Colchester. A little bit of writing in the bullet journal. Put on the movie Deep Impact (oh, sweet baby Elijah Wood) in the background for fun noise. Cry a little (stupid movie).

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I carry my high school visit items in my WAC bag, and my college fair stuff in a backpack.

10:30 p.m. – BEDTIME. Have to get up at 4:45 again the next day!

So, this is just a series of events for one day — but it’s pretty much the way most of my days in Colorado go — it’s a pretty intense week. Not shown – all the prep work done before getting here – knowing which schools to visit, examining all of the data to determine where to go/who to meet, etc. Following all of my visits, I send a handwritten note to students and a thank you to both the school counselors and the registrar or assistant in the office, the person who makes the schedule. Depending on the nature of the conversation with the students, I might also prep a small package of additional information or goodies to share.

There we have it! This is how I spend a typical day ‘on the road.’

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