Admission Program to Cast a Long Shadow
for new ways to shed light on MHC and its students, the admission
office has decided to use shadowsShadow 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 experiencesa departure from
the College's more formal programs such as Preview and Spotlight.
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."
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."
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
programsSpotlight, a daylong open house for high school
seniors and their parents, and Explore, a half-day program for
juniors and their parentsadmission offers a number of events
that focus on particular MHC programs and facilities.
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.
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 workingbeyond a shadow
of a doubt.