Applying for college can be one of the most confusing and stressful times in a young person’s life. This step by step process can seem to be never ending, even after the student has been accepted to college! Many students do not go through the application process alone, but will encounter considerable interaction from college Admissions Counselors. Admissions Counselors work with students to help them complete specific admission criteria in order to be considered for acceptance into college.
Some might say Admissions Counselors have acquired a negative status over the years. Many think of them as bothersome business people who are looking to boost numbers for the year’s enrollment projections. Admissions Counselors are simply “selling” their institution to prospective students and not really “counseling” these students through big life decisions. As an Admissions Counselor for Dordt College, I have projected goals for the number of students I want to enroll each year, but this isn’t my focus while talking with prospective students.
Each student I talk with is a person created in the image of God and they matter in God’s kingdom. These students have a calling, a purpose, and are loved by our Creator. While I am talking with them, I try to discover their interests, the unique passion and motivation that each student has in their life. I enjoy hearing about their goals and what they want to accomplish after four years of college. It is the students who do not know what they want to study during college that I enjoy talking with the most. Many of them are not aware of the vast amount of opportunities they can pursue, while also being able to live out their God-given talents. Having that conversation with prospective students is a great experience because they describe to me what drives their lives. It is during these kinds of conversations that I explain the possibilities Dordt College has for them to use their God-given talents to do something they’ll thrive in. If they love teaching piano to younger children, I mention the possibility of majoring in Music Education. If they have a passion for sports, I ask them if they have ever considered Health and Human Performance as a major. When their eyes light up and their questions start flowing more naturally, I know I have helped them find a way to do what they thoroughly enjoy.
Being an Admissions Counselor is not simply about getting a student to attend the school I represent. It is more than that. It is about encouraging a student to find their calling: to pursue something that brings them joy and allows them to use the gifts and talents God has given them in the service of God’s kingdom so that they can shine the light of Christ in everything they do.