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Curated by Amy Hammer

As much as the admission cycle is seasonal, each year presents itself with new challenges along with rewarding experiences. It is difficult to predict what will happen next as people change jobs, responsibilities are added to someone’s plate, or new opportunities are explored. In the conclusion of “The Way I See It” series for this year, the contributors reflect on what has been the most rewarding part of the last admission cycle.

April Crabtree – USF
When I first thought about the close of this year, I really wanted to sum up this year with one word: survival. This was my first year sitting in the Director’s chair and it has been a heck of a ride. Admission is all about change. Just when you think you know what’s going to happen next, staff leaves or FAFSA changes or all of a sudden there’s a new directive from the administrative. But really, that’s what makes it fun.

The most rewarding part of this year, in all seriousness, has been working with the USF Admission Team. I was lucky to be part of one of the most compassionate, hardest working teams ever put together. It’s not easy to have a lot of change at an institution and we’ve had our share like everyone else. To enter into the team in 2015 at an odd point in the cycle (March), I caught up in the wake of the end of their work. When we got down to our planning in summer, there was much laid out for us to tackle. And tackle we did.

Some years in an admission office are years when it seems like things keep going wrong. The Apollo 13 effect, if you will. If you’re lucky, like I am, you’re with the A Team, a talented, passionate group of people who bring their all, all year, to accomplish our goals. We added new programs, revised all the old programs, and thought of ways to do our jobs better. When we close the books on admission cycle 2015-16, I can say with absolute conviction, just as Jim Lovell did, “I’m in command of the best ship with the best crew that anybody could ask for… I can’t imagine ever topping that.” I am lucky to be part of this team, lucky to have met so many wonderful USF students current and future, and I just can’t wait to see what we’re going to do next.

I started this blog series last year about astronauts and I can sum up my year in the words of one as well. To the USF Admission team, as Gene Kranz said in Mission Control, THIS was our finest hour.

Julio MataJulio Mata – Miami University
The most rewarding part of the last admission cycle for me was being a part of the Local Advisory Committee for the NACAC Conference in San Diego.  It was such an honor to serve the entire college counseling community through my participation in this committee to help put together the largest NACAC Conference ever.  Although the week of the conference proved to be one of the most tiring and demanding events in my life so far, I found the experiences that came out of the conference to be extremely fulfilling and enriching.  From seeing so many WACAC members volunteering across the entire conference to connecting with new colleagues from across the country, helping put on the conference was equal parts exhilarating and exhausting.  Having a better idea of everything that goes into putting on a program of this magnitude, I understand the labor of love it is for everyone involved and makes me appreciate their efforts that much more.  One thing I know for sure, I will not miss wearing a red lifeguard t-shirt with a silly sailor hat for a multiple days in a row.

Joel Ontiveros (1)Joel Ontiveros – UCLA
This year one of my new responsibilities has been supervising the UCLA Cub Tours program. This is a unique student organization at UCLA because it is one of few that is associated with an on-campus department. Cub Tours is a volunteer-based program that provides tours to visiting elementary and middle school students from around the country. Our motto is “inspiring youth through campus tours,” and I have been extremely proud and humbled to advise current Bruins who use their free time to encourage young students to pursue higher education.

It’s been a huge year of growth for us as we now have over 50 students in the program. From the start of the academic year until mid-June, we will have provided tours to over 12,000 students. Our tours include urban legends and campus traditions to keep students engaged, but the Cub Tour guides also use their personal stories to show these young students that college is an attainable goal.

In the craze of fall recruitment, application reading, as well as selection and yield programs, coming back to my weekly meetings with Cub Tours is what keeps me sane and re-energizes me. These Bruins are students who study more than sleep, conduct research, are involved in numerous organizations, and then still find the time to give back and motivate youth. Their dedication and commitment to Cub Tours is my main source of inspiration for my work with prospective students and their families.

Please visit the Cub Tours page on Facebook, and give it a like. Go Bruins!