I recently sat with a group of alumni from the Class of 1957 at a reunion-planning event on campus. Because of my role at the college, I though it appropriate to give my table an informal update about college admission. I told them that last year, for the 2014-15 admission cycle, our acceptance rate was 17 percent, and then reviewed the accolades of the Colorado College Class of 2019. One of the gentlemen laughed: “I don’t even remember applying to Colorado College. I think they just sent me an admit letter.”
College admission. Say these words in any high school counseling office in the country and you’re bound to get a reaction. These days, the process can be stress-filled and anxiety inducing. The college admission process has become rife with direct mail marketing and glitzy brochures. Our goal is to make the Colorado College admission process more reflective of the CC experience. Just as in the Block Plan itself, we look for each student’s authentic voice and hope for deeper engagement in the process.
While we require a strong transcript, test scores, and essays, we like to get to know each applicant as much as possible. Through our holistic admission process, we interpret both the quantitative and qualitative aspects of each applicant, ensuring that students are not only capable and competitive, but also compelling. For this reason, we offer — and highly recommend — that each applicant interview as part of his or her application. But with approximately 30 interviewers on campus (between our admission directors and senior admission fellows), and 8,064 applicants last year, we cannot require that every student interview. So how, then, do we honor each student’s experiences, passions, and goals? With 1,995 interview requests during the 2014-15 admission cycle, how can we accommodate all of them?
This is where you come in. Alumni are in a unique position to help our office — and, ultimately, the campus community — build the next generation of Colorado College students. We have two specifically designed programs that invite alumni to participate in the admission process: the Admission Volunteer Program (AVP, formerly STRIPES) and the Colorado College Alumni Student Endorsement Program.
Through the AVP, alumni have the opportunity to share their love and knowledge of their alma mater with the next generation of CC students. The AVP connects vetted and trained CC alumni with students across the world who have requested an admission interview. Not guided by a script, the interview is more of a conversation than a question-and-answer session and allows the interviewer to get to know the applicant. It’s also a great opportunity for the student to have his or her questions answered and get a better sense of what Colorado College is all about. As graduates, alumni interviewers have a lot to offer students considering Colorado College.
Patrick Gorman ’87 is based in Bethesda, Maryland, and worked with me this fall to interview students in the D.C. area.
“Interviewing prospective CC students brings me closer to the school, giving me a better understanding of the culture and interests of the current student body in the classrooms, on the playing fields, in the art galleries, and on stages,” he reflects. “The caliber of each applicant, the broad, deep, and even esoteric interests each brings to the table — CC has captured the attention of some of the best and brightest around the world, resulting in a dynamic student body well positioned to lead us in this new century.”
David Spatt ’11 drives down to campus from Denver for our fall on-campus programming. As a young alumnus, Spatt acknowledges that interviewing prospective students as part of the AVP is “an intimate way for me to give back to the college that gave me so much. It’s a refreshing way to maintain my own connection with Colorado College by interacting with a new generation of Tigers.”
Whether you live near a major city or not, or even whether you live in the States or not, you can interview prospective students. We allow Skype or FaceTime interviews, so you may be paired with a student anywhere in the world. Last year, we were able to offer an additional 252 interviews to our applicants thanks to the help of 106 alumni interviewers.
Visit the AVP website at www.coloradocollege.edu/avp to let us know if you’re interested in volunteering and for more information on the alumni interview process.
The Colorado College Alumni Student Endorsement (CCASE) program encourages alumni working in education to recommend a student they believe would be a great fit for Colorado College. Last year, we received 37 endorsements from 30 alumni in education. If you teach, mentor, coach, or otherwise work with high school students, visit the CCASE website at www.coloradocollege.edu/ccase to learn how your endorsement can help guide a student through the application process, including getting their application fee waived.
As the Office of Admission looks forward to recruiting the Colorado College Class of 2021 this upcoming academic year, we hope to connect and work with you as we build another dynamic class of Tigers.
Ashleigh Willis ’11 is an assistant director of admission at Colorado College.