Author: Julia Haight
I’m sure we can all remember what our college application process was like. Overwhelming, stressful, and making sure that we are picking the right college with the best fit for us. Thankfully we are past that part of our lives by now, but have you ever wondered what the process was like from the college admissions teams side?
In an interview with the vice president of admissions, Nathan Haveman, he described what the process was like here at Hope College. The process begins when students are in the second semester of their junior year of high school, and this is when they typically take in-person tours of the campus and receive mail and emails from the school. “During their senior year, we capture students via email pretty early on, we do a communication plan for them in that general time period.” Haveman states. During senior year, this is when students begin and complete their college applications. At Hope, students have the option to either complete their application through the Common Application, or do the one that is specific to Hope. He also said, “This year, if students had their application completed by November 1st, they would hear our decision by early December.”
The admissions process here makes the process as personable as they can. This part officially begins once the school receives the students’ entire application. “Since we aren’t a part of a large school, it allows us to spend so much more time reviewing applications from students. We take the time to get to know them as a person rather than a test score or GPA.” Haveman states. When it comes to reviewing the essay portions, these are read by so many different people. “As staff we also look at the role we had in our own experiences. We really want students to find community and mentors, hold them to high expectations, and know that they are seen.” he also says. One other aspect that the staff ties into their decision making process is ensuring that as a school, we can provide what the student is looking for.
Within the admissions office, there are 12-14 full time recruiters. They are separated into different geographical areas, and three are even some that work solely with international students. Of those that work within the United States, they are separated into different regions and also separated by schools as well. There is also a back office team who works on the application processing. Nathan says that “They do all the stuff nobody sees, they dot every i and cross every t. They make sure every detail gets covered.” Admissions also works closely with public affairs and marketing, as well as financial aid. “We are trying to iterate towards something more affordable for Hope Forward, so we work closely with the financial aid offices to do this.” Haveman states. There is also a campus engagement team that works really hard when there are admissions events such as Anchor Days. Those who are on this team are there to help the prospective students engage in student panels, hear from current students and professors, and are there to also answer any questions and push the students where they need to go.
When it comes to prospective students actually touring campus, the process there is also as personalized as it can be. “Our visit process is really strong, and we want to make sure to showcase the organic events and student interactions. This way, the touring students can see what Hope would be like for them if they choose to come here.” Another thing that Haveman said they try to emphasize is that not everything here is perfect, and not every day is going to be perfect either. He stated that they try to make the tours as organic as they can, so that students can really get a feel for what their life would be like here. When it comes to the tours, each student is paired up with a guide that makes the most sense for them. “We have about 50 student tour guides from sophomores to seniors, and we do the best we can on cross-sections of academics, experiences, research, athletes, and more. When we see a prospective student is interested in xyz, we pair them up with who we see best fit for this part. The tours are about 45-55 minutes long, and we hit most of the campus.” When giving a tour, the team also caters to the students interests as well. Of course, they show every student the main buildings, such as the library, the Bultman student center, Dimnent Chapel, Phelps Dining Hall, and from there they cater it to what the student is interested in. “For example, if we have someone who is really interested in athletics, we highlight and showcase DeVos Fieldhouse, or if we have someone who is interested in off-campus study, we show them the off campus study lounge in Martha Miller, or if someone enjoys art, we showcase the DePree art building.” So for students touring, their tour is created to be something unique and specialized towards them.
Just recently, the admissions office was assessed by our own Hope College Student Congress. Haveman said that he gets really excited about their work when something like this happens. “We had one of our student workers speak at the opening of Anchor Day, and the stories these students are telling are incredible.” He also emphasized that having students be able to form committees and shape governess is both crazy and great, not only for the leadership aspect, but it is just an incredible thing in general. “The community aspect of Hope is not perfect, but being able to hear student’s stories is a great thing. The work we do becomes especially important if we are trying to be holistic not in name but in practice.” Another point Haveman wanted to emphasize was that by doing things such as dropping the requirement for a standardized test score for admission allows these students to be seen more clearly. “GPA is a marker, but so is community involvement, strong writing, etc. We want to get to know our students because they are the ones who are ultimately leading this school.” w