Editorial: Giving DePauw a good face

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As an admissions ambassador, I can honestly say that whenever I give a tour to prospective students and their families, the burden to impress sits on my shoulders like a sack full of bricks. One can only learn so much about a school online; the level of responsibility that admissions ambassadors feel is enormous, as we are the representation of what the prospective student’s life could be like, should he or she choose to come to DePauw. When I give a tour, I am selling DePauw. The switch flips, and I am no longer just a student–I am a representative of the University, of the Office of Admissions, of everything that DePauw stands for.

No pressure.

I am thrilled that the Office of Admissions received over 80 applications for just 20-25 ambassador slots. While I’m sure any of the applicants would do a fine job in selling prospective students on DePauw, having such a wide pool to choose from means that the admissions office will have its pick of the best of the best in terms of who will represent DePauw and help get application numbers up. Quality applicants should show enthusiasm, emphasize all of DePauw’s unique qualities–such as Winter Term, the Honors and Fellows Programs and all of the recent and ongoing renovation projects–and paint a true picture of what life is like at DePauw.

A huge part of life at DePauw is the bonds formed during the first-year experience. One’s mentor group can have a massive impact on a student’s transition into college life, as this is one of the first groups of students that first-years come into contact with. It is for this reason that the application process to become a mentor is so rigorous: the mentor is often the first upperclassman that first-years meet, and typically acts as a role model for what students can accomplish in just one, two or three years. 

I had a mentor who cared about my well-being, who did his best to make sure everyone in my mentor group was transitioning smoothly into college, who went out of his way to meet with us before exams, breaks or whenever we wanted to chat. I felt like I had a protective older brother in a time when I was separated from my family for the first time. I found comfort in that.

I sincerely hope that the class of 2020 enjoys the same mentor experience that I did. Dean of Students Cara Setchell, along with her selection team, has done an excellent job of choosing competent and welcoming mentors in past years. I have faith that, with the ever-increasing number of mentor applications, this year will be no different.

Both admissions ambassadors and first-year mentors are key in shaping the future of DePauw. Let’s make it a bright one.