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New program targets future Domers

Catherine Owers | Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Every student has a unique story of their first experience at Notre Dame, whether they are legacy students who watched “Rudy” hundreds of times as a child, or just visited the campus their senior year of high school and unexpectedly fell in love. The Office of Undergraduate Admissions’ High School Ambassador (HSA) program, led by assistant director of admissions Jordan Schank, works to share the Notre Dame experience with as many students as possible.
“Each year, Admissions Counselors travel to hundreds of high schools across the United States and internationally to meet with prospective students,” Schank said. “However, time and resources limit the number of schools that the counselors are able to visit. The High School Ambassador program extends the reach of the Office of Undergraduate Admissions by sending trained current Notre Dame students to their hometowns to share their experiences with prospective students.”
Schank said the high school ambassadors are volunteers who may be from any class and any college.
“High school ambassadors must attend a training session offered by the Admissions Office,” Schank said. “The high school ambassadors are also responsible for contacting their own high schools to schedule the meetings with prospective students.”
 HSAs are given an outline of topics that can be covered during their meetings with prospective students, Schank said.
“Many HSAs will prepare a formal presentation that covers student life, residential life, the First Year of Studies and other topics that help introduce Notre Dame to high school students. We have also encouraged HSAs to show our new video, ‘Any Given Day’ during their visits,” Schank said. “[However,] the most valuable meetings and presentations will include storytelling and personal anecdotes.”
Shank said HSAs are free to share their personal experience with the application process, but they are overall discouraged from giving application advice or suggesting whether a particular student would be competitive or not.
“Rather, HSAs are to encourage prospective students to continue the conversation with their regional admissions counselor in our office,” Schank said. “We value the work and enthusiasm of our high school ambassadors. The stories and experiences shared by high school ambassadors carry a certain authenticity that is well-received by prospective students.”
In the future, Schank said he hopes to expand the program and send ambassadors to represent the University internationally.
“Currently, students are preparing to visit their high schools over fall break. We hope to offer the program over other breaks this year,” he said. “We hope that students will enjoy the experience and volunteer again to visit additional schools in their hometowns. Finally, we hope to recruit and train a large number of international high school ambassadors to supplement our current recruiting efforts overseas.”
Contact Catherine Owers at cowers@nd.edu