On Saturday, November 8th, Adrian College will host its second Bulldog 101 of the year, an event that invites perspective (as well as admitted) students to join the AC family for a day of valuable information; fun; and for some, a chance to work on learning how to break the ice with complete and utter strangers.
As a member of the Admissions Dream Team--the name for the Admissions student workforce--I know all about Bulldog 101. More importantly, I know why it's a huge day for the college; all of us, the students; and for every timid, cocky, athletic, artsy, funny, and/or smart high school student that sets foot on campus.
First off, I want to give the outsiders--those who don't work in admissions--a little bit of insight into what makes it a special day. Any time a college student has the opportunity to wake up for work at 8:30 AM on a Saturday, we're thrilled! Or not. But when you get 25 of us in the admissions house with donuts, bagels, an assortment of odd cream cheeses, and Joe Van Geison (Assistant Director of Admissions) straight killing the moonwalk in a full on suit, the early rise ain't that bad. The next thing to know is that the Admissions counselors (so, the actual grown-ups who have finished this wonderfully crazy thing we call college), are studs. With a mix of boyish smiles and enthusiasm (Jarrett), on-point sarcasm (Melissa), overwhelming positivity (Garrett), good-intentions-but-slightly-dictatorial-in-the-best-of-ways job assigning (Cindy), an out of nowhere comedian (Emily), and the aforementioned JVG--yes, nothing more need be said...but we'll give him great hair just because--these personalities, combined with the great squad of student workers; the one-two punch at the front-desk of our resident Queens, Alli and Kim; and the money making smile of Admissions Director Erin DeSmet, make the job an absolute blast.
Now that we've covered some of the players in the game, let's review the actual game plan. The curious High School students and their parents arrive at 10. It's closing in on 9. We've got an hour. It's crunch time. It's also usually frigid. But elements never stop the best (All Hail Tom Brady--sorry Peyton, you got too used to that dome in Indy). In the hour before the event starts, we go all over campus while everybody else is sound asleep, dreaming about God knows what, and do a trash sweep. We'll leave items that are found on this excursion to the imagination. OK, relax--it's usually a bunch of Caine cups with the dregs of blue Powerade trickling out onto the dewy grass. Then, we put up our signature AC banners that promote our values here at the College (I'm still working on getting my face on one of them...but it's definitely a long-shot, to be honest). We always find new places to put the parking signs, but people find the open lots pretty accessible, regardless if once in a while the big parking sign is pointing directly the wrong way. Again, relax. We do our job well and take it seriously. You just have to remember it's 9 AM on a Saturday. We haven't gotten up that early since the cartoons "Pinky and the Brain" and "Hey Arnold" were top priorities for us.
After making sure everything is in line, we quickly turn into our best selves and greet families as they enter the Adrian Tobias room for breakfast (the orange bread is prime) and some short speeches from the College's most important players: President Docking, VP Frank Hribar, and Financial Aid Director Matt Rheinecker to name a few.
After Frank finishes up, the student workers pair up to lead small-group tours of campus. As students take in Downs Hall and its pristine, old-school bathrooms and beautiful theater, you can see the awe on their faces. When we ask them to imagine the fires on the terrace lighting up the Caine Student Center for campus to see in all its glory, you can feel their anticipation. But what lies at the heart of the tour--and the entire Bulldog 101 experience--is an opportunity to make kids feel welcome at AC. By the end of the day, after all the banners have been disassembled and golf carts run out of gas and free Bulldog Beanery (Starbucks) cards utilized, families leave AC feeling as if they are already part of the experience. Our job is not to bombard them with facts; that's what pamphlets do. Our job is to make them realize that 1) college isn't that scary and 2) that AC can be a great place for them.
Choosing a college is far from the easiest thing to do in life, and I'm not saying coming to Bulldog 101 will make your decision. But I can say that the Admissions Staff at AC and President Docking are a big reason why I am here. What you'll find when you visit is that there is a collective warmth on campus that DOES NOT come from the weather. Your toes may be falling off in January, but they'll get bit warmer when President Docking seeks you out at a seemingly random moment to ask you, by name, how you are. This doesn't happen by accident. AC is in the business of investing in people, in the classroom and in every other aspect of your life, and that's what makes this a special place.
That's the Bulldog experience, and it starts with Bulldog 101.