Work and Study: Professional Development in Student Work – Senior Interviewers

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By: Carlee Shults, Admission Counselor, University of Redlands

I currently have the exciting privilege of supervising our office’s four Senior Interviewers—stellar representatives of our community that were seasoned tour guides looking for more of a professional office role. They interact with prospective students and families just as admissions counselors do, leading interviews and answering questions, but with the added bonus of understanding firsthand what it means to be a Bulldog. Although they no longer walk backwards, our Senior Interviewers play an integral role in our office; they offer crucial insight into the life of a current student, and they are wonderful illustrations of what a Redlands education can do. It is very important for me and my counseling team to offer these students professional development opportunities, to include everything from insight into higher education and the admissions profession to general office etiquette.

During training, our Senior Interviewers learn not only about the structure of an interview, but also about conveying confidence from the moment they introduce themselves to families. We discuss dressing to impress and following up with thank you notes to show care and consideration. The students meet with our Director of Admissions to learn about the admissions cycle and how their roles will grow and change as they meet with families throughout the year, and they meet with Student Financial Services to discover what insight they can offer families about affordability. Most importantly, our Senior Interviewers, like all members of our team, are taught that it is okay to not know the answer to a question, and to follow up once they learn more—a crucial reminder. As respected members of our team, our Senior Interviewers are encouraged to partner with counselors on specific projects that suit their interests, including everything from gap year programs to international admissions. Their knowledge is valued and their perspectives are important, because, after all, they are exactly the kind of engaged, adventurous students Redlands loves to connect with.

It is important to remember that they are still students, however, and to allow them to maintain balance in all of their priorities. Our students are leaders all over campus—in research, activism, athletics, Greek life, the performing arts and more. Although their role in the office is important, so is their health, well-being, and happiness. Their job should never come before self-care, just as ours shouldn’t either.

Whether they decide to pursue admissions in the future, as two of our past Senior Interviewers have done, or something totally different, I hope that their time in the Office of Admissions encourages them to enter their professional careers with confidence in their voices, an understanding of workplace etiquette, and the reminder that although they can love what they do, they must first be happy and healthy.

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