Ambassador program offers valuable experience for students
If you’re a current or former undergraduate student at Doane, there’s a good chance one of your first impressions of the university was made during a campus tour in Crete. In the admission process, campus tours are a crucial part to “yielding” a student, when the student decides to enroll at Doane and submit a deposit.
Dating back to 1985, Doane’s Ambassador program (formerly known as the Doane Delegates) has played an integral role in the admission efforts at Doane, as students in Doane’s Ambassador program lead the majority of campus tours during the academic year. These students act as a representative of the university, something that is taken seriously by the students and admissions staff.
“As an ambassador you might be the first person a prospective student sees and interacts with at Doane, which means you have a lot of responsibility,” said Jacob Duhey ’18. “I like having the pressure of being the face of Doane for that hour. Doane has given me the best four years of my life and getting to share that means the world to me.”
In the 2017-18 academic year, Doane’s Ambassador program has 55 students, coming from a variety of backgrounds. To date, Doane has hosted roughly 1,000 campus tours this academic year with prospective students and nearly all of those tours have been led by ambassadors.
“The ambassador program means everything to Doane,” said Thad Dodd, director of the program. “When we hire ambassadors, they have to have a passion for Doane because that’s going to make an impression on the families they’re going out on tours with. They spend more time with recruits and families than anyone else here.”
While the ambassadors primarily provide tours to prospective high school students, they also provide assistance at college fairs, Homecoming, visit days, and Tiger Sleepovers, to name a few. Because of the value ambassadors have in the admission office, students in the program are paid an hourly wage, something that isn’t always common among similar programs at other universities.
“We treat this as a job for students and hope that it’s teaching them responsibility,” said Carolyn Wieland, recruitment communications coordinator and assistant to the ambassador program. “It’s also a great networking opportunity for them. We’ve had students offered jobs from parents that have received a tour from an ambassador.”
The selection process for ambassadors is very competitive each year, according to Dodd. Only around 20 percent of the applicants are expected to be hired for the 2018-19 academic year. A student must have a minimum sophomore standing to be in the program and academic standing is considered.
“When we interview students and ask them why they want to be an ambassador, I would say 90 percent of the students say the person who gave them their tour sparked their interest,” Wieland said. “Our students know that parents and high school students are very interested in hearing student stories.”
After ambassadors are hired, they will receive training prior to being sent out on a tour. When ambassadors provide tours, it gives them an opportunity to let their personality shine.
“I’ve enjoyed sharing my story with students and families of why Doane is the perfect place to be, how it changed my life and how I’ve made new friends/family,” Manny Armendariz ’19 said.
As the home stretch of the admission cycle nears, there is no doubt of the importance ambassadors play in Doane’s success.
“There have absolutely been times when the visit an ambassador led played a huge role in the student’s decision to attend Doane,” Dodd said. “I get so many comments on our ambassadors being fantastic. They are a great group of kids.”