An insider’s view of work at GC Admissions

An insider’s view of work at GC Admissions

KARINA PALOS

Contributing Writer

kpalos@goshen.edu

 

I have worked in the Goshen College admissions department since my first year, taking on many different positions. Now it’s time for me to go. I graduate in April with degrees in social work and public relations.

Not knowing all that much about Goshen College when I arrived, I never imagined myself sticking around for this long – let alone urging high school students to apply. In fact, I was planning on not returning after my first year, because I felt uninvolved and like I wasn’t doing anything efficient.

Initially, I became part of the admissions call team, which required a basic level of understanding of Goshen College, but I wanted a further challenge. That challenge was presented my sophomore year when I was unexpectedly trained to give campus tours. Leading campus tours came with more responsibilities, and being knowledgeable about Goshen College. I took it upon myself the summer after my first year to read the Goshen College Catalog – all 264 pages.

Who would’ve thought Kratz Hall was named in honor of Clayton Kratz, a Goshen College senior in the 1920s, who disappeared while serving as a Mennonite relief worker in war-torn Russia? Or that the visual arts building was once home to the college’s Memorial Library? This one was interesting: who knew that Goshen’s Eigsti Track and Field Complex was named for the inventor of the seedless watermelon?

Learning more about the college was extremely helpful when giving tours and talking about Goshen College to prospective students. I believe that every person should take the time to learn the history of the place they work or study. It makes us better employees and students.

Researching about these places gives us an understanding of how things work and function at an organizational level, and where we fit in its structure. We soon come to appreciate the kind of work we do, and take pride in it.

This became evident to me when I heard students complaining about how admissions functions. For example, admissions calls multiple times and sends dozens of emails.

I don’t appreciate this because, for one, I worked there, and two, I know how the system works and why things are done the way they are done. And it’s for a good reason. This understanding allowed me to defend admissions and explain the process as an insider.

When training to work at admissions, it was hard to accept that it was okay to ask questions and make mistakes. Making mistakes was a ‘no-no’ for me, because I’m a perfectionist who likes to overwork. This could also be due to my personality: I like to get things done in an efficient and effective manner. I eventually felt confident enough in my capabilities to handle whatever might get thrown at me.

That could be one of the reasons Lacey Pfeiffer, admissions event and outreach manager, and I work so well together. As Lacey’s student intern this year, I help to schedule and organize individual visits along with bigger events such as Explore Goshen Days.

I’ve enjoyed learning the operations side of admissions and every day being exposed to something new. Every plan needs to be flexible, especially when you have around 125 prospective students and their parents arriving soon. It’s common to have students show up who didn’t sign up, not show up after putting together their folders, or even not having enough ambassadors to give a campus tour.

In learning GC’s history, I found it easy to come to know the place, and feel a sense of belonging. I realize how much admissions also values me as an individual, and not just a student worker.

I appreciate being a part of the team – the admissions family. That’s one of the reasons I love working in admissions and why I worked there my entire college career. It’s going to be hard to say goodbye, but I’ve gained valuable skills and made pretty cool friends along the way.

Whenever you see prospective students on campus, feel free to say ‘hi’ or invite them to sit with you at lunch. Because even though you don’t work for admissions, you are making difference. In a way, you are a part of the admissions team.

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