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New Admission Program to Cast a Long Shadow

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Mount Holyoke College News and Events Vista The College Street Journal Archives

November 9, 2001

New Admission Program to Cast a Long Shadow

Casting about for new ways to shed light on MHC and its students, the admission office has decided to use shadows—Shadow Days, that is. High school juniors and seniors participating in focus groups told admission that they "wanted to view prospective colleges in an up close and personal way," says Dean of Admission Diane Anci. "They were quite suspicious of too much scripting." With the students' suggestions in mind, Anci and her team developed Shadow Days, an unstructured visitation program that stresses spontaneous student-to-student experiences—a departure from the College's more formal programs such as Preview and Spotlight.

On Shadow Days, prospective students "shadow" MHC students for a day. The first Shadow Day was in October; another is planned for November 12. By pairing up with an MHC host to attend classes, meetings, meals, and sporting events; observe a lab; bump into friends; study in the library; or lounge on the green, prospective students get a sense of how a typical day at the College might unfold. Shadow Day participant Carly Pulver certainly packed many different experiences into her day on campus. Says Pulver, "I talked to the head of the international relations program, who gave me helpful information. My host, [Hannah Knapp '02], was great. Since we are both into French and she went abroad, something I plan on doing, she could really tell me what to expect from the school and the major. . . . I think we connected, and I liked meeting her friends too. We went to her dorm room, a French class, and a women's studies class. The women's studies class was the best part. I could picture myself being in that class, and I even participated. We went to lunch, the admission office, and the sports building. We walked the campus, toured the library and the theater, went to the Village Commons for ‘happy cows,' then walked the paths around the lakes."

Lest the Shadow Day program feel too constricted, prospective students are given the option of striking out on their own for part of the day, pursuing their interests on their schedule. "We control the experience only by using questionnaires to match the academic and cocurricular interests of prospective students and MHC hosts," says Anci. "And, as we do for the Spotlight program, we offer parents the structured program of tours, admission information, and financial aid discussions we know they enjoy."

"Creating programs such as Shadow Days is consistent with our overall recruitment philosophy," says Jane Brown, vice president for enrollment and College relations. "We regularly adjust our programming to meet the individual needs of our prospective students; what remains constant is our goal to communicate Mount Holyoke's key themes and messages." In addition to its more structured programs—Spotlight, a daylong open house for high school seniors and their parents, and Explore, a half-day program for juniors and their parents—admission offers a number of events that focus on particular MHC programs and facilities.

Athletes, for instance, often want to meet with coaches and athletes or to observe practices and games and to spend time in Kendall Sports Complex. They can do so during two Focus on Athletics programs. Serious riders who want to see every bit of MHC's world-class equestrian center feel right at home at the equestrian open house. ALANA (African American, Latina, Asian American, and Native American) students interested in the multicultural resources on campus can explore those in-depth at Senior ALANA Spotlight, an extension of the daylong Senior Spotlight program. Potential transfer students, often concerned about transfer credits and advising, find credit-evaluation sessions and current transfer students at the transfer open house. There is even Counselor Weekend, a program for high school guidance counselors, the people who are instrumental in guiding students through the college application process.

"General campus visits cannot fully accommodate everyone's special interests, such as those of athletes, transfer students, and ALANA students," says Anci. "Our special-event schedule is designed to respond to students' specific needs and questions. By doing this, we give students a highly personalized experience." With a record number of applications three years running, this one-size-does-not-fit-all approach to recruitment seems to be working—beyond a shadow of a doubt.

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Copyright © 2001 Mount Holyoke College. This page created by Office of Communications and maintained by Don St. John. Last modified on November 9, 2001.

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