When prospective students arrive on campus for an interview, they may expect to talk to an adult from the Admissions Office. Yet to their surprise, students with almost four years of the Lehigh experience might be the ones greeting them at the Alumni Memorial Building.
Lehigh admissions fellows are seniors who work in the admissions office and interview prospective students as an optional part of the application process.
Admissions fellows must apply for their positions, and applications are only open to rising seniors. The application consists of a resume, cover letter, an unofficial copy of the student’s transcript and a Lehigh faculty reference. After going through these documents, a select few are chosen to be interviewed by the director of the program and other Lehigh admissions faculty.
This year, there are 17 admissions fellows.
“We want campus leaders who represent the Lehigh student body,” admission counselor Lauren Christman, ’13, ’14G, said.
Once selected to be an admissions fellow, there is brief training at the end of the spring semester of the future admissions fellows’ junior year and at the beginning of the fall semester of their senior year. Newly selected admissions fellows also get the opportunity to sit in on interviews that take place at the end of the spring semester so they have an idea of how the process works.
“Being in a role where people look up to you in that way, and parents think that you could be the one that helps their student get in, originally that is a little uncomfortable. But after getting used to it and getting used to doing the questions and the flow of the interview, I think I’ve gained a lot of confidence in the position,” admissions fellow Corina Fitzgerald, ’17, said.
Fitzgerald said knowing both she and the prospective students could be a little nervous at an interview makes the process easier for her.
Each admissions fellow typically interviews three to four students each week when the admissions office is open, and each interview takes about 45 minutes. In the fall, the admissions fellows interview high school seniors. In the spring, they interview high school juniors.
“It really doesn’t feel like a time commitment because it’s fun and you get to meet different people,” Amber Cardona, ’17, said.
Admissions fellows are paid $10 an hour.
According to the program’s website, admissions fellows also assist with the “View, Inquire and Experience our World” program, or V.I.E.W. This program offers prospective students the opportunity to attend two classes at Lehigh and meet with students in a dining hall.
Admissions fellows often serve on panels, and they sometimes meet with counselors. Fitzgerald said they help with senior and junior days, and when big groups of students come they will do a panel or a breakout session.
Interviews on campus are almost always with an admissions fellow. However, when the interviews are not on campus, the interviews are conducted by Lehigh faculty.
“We try to make it sort of informal in a way that they can feel comfortable, and we can just get to know them,” Cardona said.
Fitzgerald said the interviews are mostly students sharing stories about themselves and why they want to attend Lehigh. Cardona said interviewing prospective students has helped her improve her interviewing skills while looking for jobs.
Once in awhile, admissions fellows get the opportunity to interview prospective students off campus. This year, the admissions fellows traveled to Boston.
Following each interview, the fellows write a formal summary about the conversation and what they thought about the prospective student. Admissions counselors use these write-ups as extra sources of information.
“We try not to make a decision based on one sole factor, but there have been times where the interview has swayed us in one direction or the other,” Christman said.
The application to become an admissions fellow for the 2017-18 school year has closed for juniors.
Cardona said being an admissions fellow and interviewing prospective students has brought on a lot of nostalgia during her senior year. Fitzgerald said being an admission fellow has brought a new perspective to her senior year.
“It’s been refreshing for me as a senior to see why prospective students are so excited to come to Lehigh,” Fitzgerald said.