Fall is a really exciting time in education. For students, of course, it is a time of new beginnings, heading back to school, and for seniors, even beginning the college application process. Maybe equally as exciting is what Fall means for us in Admissions each year – travel season!
From September through November, you can find a member of our admissions office at high school guidance offices, college fairs, and coffeeshops all around the country (and the world!), meeting with potential Johnnies. It’s our job to talk to people about the program who don’t know about it yet, and more importantly, translate just what makes it so special. This week was my first week back on the road after my first year here at St. John’s, so I thought I’d do a quick recap.
I flew out Sunday evening to Manchester, NH, and drove almost 2 hours to a little hotel near the White Mountain National Forest to begin a day of visits in scenic New Hampshire and Maine – two of my favorite states to travel in. While I spend most of my time in the car, driving from one location to the next, it is a great way to explore a region I am mostly unfamiliar with. Every time I am up here, I’m actually reminded of the mountains of our Santa Fe campus, and love being able to talk about it with students. Did you know that New Mexico even has a ski basin close to our Santa Fe campus?
When I’m not driving around, I’m usually in meetings with College Counselors, or maybe even some interested students. One of my favorite things about working for St. John’s is how distinctive our curriculum is, and that usually makes for some pretty fun conversations with whoever I’m meeting with.
“So, there are no majors? What degree do the students end up with?”
“What do your graduates go on to do?”
“How do you approach subjects like Math and Science?”
They usually ask all of these, and more, and that’s okay! We do things pretty differently at St. John’s, and it’s always exciting to let them know that we exist as a pretty distinct option in the landscape of colleges of universities.
I’ll visit 3-5 high schools in each day, and usually have some type of event in the evening. This could be a college fair, or even a set of interviews at a local coffee shop. Either way, I’m meeting with lots of different people, talking them through the Program, and helping them to understand how they could potentially see themselves as a student at one of our campuses. A sample day for me might go like this:
7:00 AM – 7:30 AM: Wake up, get ready, grab some breakfast, and head to my first event of the day.
8:30 – 9:20: First visit of the day! Might meet with some students, or just have a conversation with a counselor.
9:30 – 11:00: More meetings! Depending how far away they are, i could have as many as 3 in the morning, but since the area I’m in this week is pretty rural, most of this time will be spent driving.
11:30 AM – 1:00 PM: Stop for lunch, catch up on email, and (most likely) grab a second coffee to get me through the afternoon.
1:00 PM – 3:00 PM: Finish up any other high school visits that day, and head out to a college fair/coffee shop for interviews/my hotel for the evening.
5:00 PM – 7:00 PM – My evening activities. If I’m lucky, I’ll have some time grab dinner before this – if I’m really lucky, they’ll even have some dinner for us at a college fair.
9:00 PM: Wrap up, and head out to my hotel to catch up on email/reach out to any of the students that I got to meet that day. Double check my visit schedule for tomorrow, go back over the confirmation times, and plan the route for the day.
10:00 PM – Bed time!
Sounds exhausting, right? It can be, but it can also be pretty fun. Every year during travel, I try to get to at least one place that I’ve never been before.
Hanover, Keene, Portsmouth, Manchester, Exeter, Dublin – in one week, I was able to visit all of these towns. I was even able to end my week in Portland, Maine, a beautiful city right on the coast of southern Maine, where the temperature was a brisk 55 degrees. It reminded me that fall is well on it’s way, and while I’ve got a long schedule ahead of me, I’m ready for this year to unfold. Definitely check out our schedule of events this fall and reach out to a counselor who is coming to your area! If they couldn’t get your high school on the schedule for visiting, we would be more than happy to meet up somewhere for coffee.
Good luck this year, and maybe we’ll see you out on the road!