The Diversity Achievers Program, an overnight experience that brings prospective students to campus, drives anywhere between 30 to 40 percent of its participants to attend Lehigh as an undergraduate, according to Maria Asayag, assistant director of Diversity Recruitment.
“DAP is for prospective students who have a strong commitment and dedication to being part of a diverse campus, as well as a passion to be members of a community that strives for and embraces an inclusive campus,” said Elizabeth Guzzo, assistant director of diversity recruitment. “It is an introduction to Lehigh, and it provides students with hands-on Lehigh experiences and a chance to explore a college that may be an excellent fit for them when they make final decisions on where to apply and ultimately enroll.
Sean Lawrence, ’15, a student who participated in DAP when he was applying to college, said he really enjoyed the program. Although he was nervous about staying overnight at a college for the first time, he said everyone was very friendly and were genuinely interested in his enjoyment of the program.
“They were always available throughout the program to answer any questions that I had,” Lawrence said. “Staying overnight in a college dorm can be a daunting experience, but DAP was not intimidating; it was just a lot of fun.”
DAP allows prospective students to explore Lehigh and discover whether it is the right school for them. Because the program occurs before application deadlines, students have a chance to better understand Lehigh’s campus and culture before they decide to apply.
This is the key difference between DAP and Diversity Life Weekend, which is for students who have already been admitted into Lehigh. D-Life enables accepted students to experience the campus during the final decision time, to have questions answered and to learn about all of the resources and opportunities here.
“DAP is different from Diversity Life Weekend because the students who come to DAP are prospective students applying to Lehigh,” Asayag said. “On the other hand, D-Life is for admitted students, and it is a larger program that spans an entire weekend.”
Asayag said the university expected about 70 students to attend DAP, but anticipates between 150 and 175 students to attend D-Life weekend.
Guzzo said DAP has always had a strong applicant pool, which sometimes makes the admissions office’s job challenging.
“But we get to bring almost 70 of some of the best and brightest students from all over the country, from right down the road to southern states to the West Coast,” Guzzo said.
This year’s program ran from Sunday to Monday, with students arriving at Lehigh on Sunday afternoon. After dinner with the director of admissions, participants met with current Lehigh students during the evening social.
“I love meeting prospective students and being able to tell them about my amazing experiences at Lehigh,” Jessica Scott, ’15, said. “It’s also neat to be a potential influencer of someone’s college decision. I try to paint an accurate picture of Lehigh and be as helpful as possible.”
On Monday, participants attended the senior open house and sat in on a class. They also attended admissions and financial aid workshops that help prepare them to submit their application.
“It’s safe to say that I would not have attended Lehigh if it wasn’t for the DAP program,” Lawrence said. “I hadn’t even heard of Lehigh before my guidance counselor told me about the program and urged me to participate in it. If I hadn’t been a part of DAP, I probably would’ve ended up at Drexel or University of Pittsburgh. So I would wholeheartedly recommend DAP to others who are thinking about doing it.”