The student ambassador program at the West Virginia University College of Education and Human Services began in the fall of 2015. An honorary program, each year six to twelve
undergraduate and graduate students are selected to serve the college through
participation in recruitment events, phone-a-thons, and alumni events, but
they’re about to do even more.
According to Kim Klaus, program director in the CEHS Office of Student Success, student ambassadors are the best representatives a college has for recruitment. “Prospective students become more attached and engaged when they have the opportunity to connect with a current student,” said Klaus. It didn’t take me long to realize we could use a tool we already had working for us, our student ambassadors, for even more effective recruiting.”
Though student ambassadors already connect with prospective students through recruitment events and college tours, Klaus had even more in mind. This January, Klaus commissioned her ambassadors to be “student-recruiters”.
“We started a mentor program. Each ambassador is given upward of 25 admitted students in a particular geographical area to work with,” stated Klaus. “Establishing these peer to peer relationships is a great way for us to increase our admit yield, retaining admitted students through to enrollment.”
Student ambassadors are required to contact each of their admitted students at least three times a month. The contacts are through email, phone, skype, and even social media such as Facebook and snapchat. The conversations are an opportunity for ambassadors to answer questions, share information, or just tell about their experience here at WVU.
“I think the mentor program is a great idea! I love sharing my advice to incoming freshman to help ease their transition from high school to college. Most importantly, these students now have a friend that has already learned a lot from their time at WVU," said Jacinda Hickman, junior in speech language pathology and audiology and third year CEHS student ambassador.
Student ambassadors represent every major at CEHS, as well as multiple cities and states. Ambassadors seem to find easy ways to connect with their prospective students, whether it is their study interests or that they are in-state or out-of-state students, even their hobbies or club interests are sometimes similar.
According to Klaus in just a couple weeks’ time, the program is already off to a positive start. “The ambassadors are so excited about being able to share their personal college experiences with other prospective students. They’re taking the initiative and are coming up with innovative ideas to better connect with these prospective students, such as a group Skype chat so admitted students can interact and connect with other prospective students, as well as other ambassadors,” stated Klaus.
“Using our student ambassadors to help retain our admitted students through to enrollment is incredibly innovative. Last fall at CEHS, approximately 42% of first-time freshmen undergraduates who were admitted and actually enrolled,” stated Gypsy Denzine, Dean of the College of Education and Human Services at WVU. “We look forward to this number increasing, as a result of these peer to peer relationships.”
To learn more about the CEHS Student Ambassadors or if you are interested in joining this honorary group, visit the CEHS Student Ambassadors web page.