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Recruitment Road Warriors: PSU Admissions Counselors Recount Stories from the Road
Author: Enrollment Management and Student Affairs
Posted: November 27, 2013

Every year, PSU’s Admissions Counselors pack their bags and leave campus to recruit prospective students. All counselors travel and some are gone from late August through December. Below are some of their pictures and stories.



Congrats You’re a Viking!

This fall, Admissions Counselors have hosted Instant Viking events at Oregon high schools.  These events are an opportunity for students who meet our admissions requirements to receive an admissions decision on the spot! Students who are admitted are provided a certificate authenticating their admittance to PSU and a next steps flyer.  These visits are a wonderful opportunity to provide local and rural high schools with personalized attention. 24 sessions have been held and over 240 students have been admitted to PSU. There are still 6 more sessions scheduled and the number of Instant Vikings will surely increase!

Robin Beavers (right) admits a student from Liberty High School to PSU.

National College Fair

November 1 and 2, 2013, PSU Admissions along with staff from various departments convened at the NACAC National College fair at the Portland Convention Center.  The estimated attendance was 14,000 students along with parents, community members and high school counselors.  Students were provided scanners for each table so Admissions representatives could quickly gather student information from a barcode.  Students pre-filled their information in a computer system and a barcode was printed. The colleges then scanned the barcode, rather than having the student complete a contact card.  PSU joined over 260+ colleges, universities and trade schools at the fair.  This fair marked one of our largest attended college fairs of the year and PSU made quite an impression on prospective students (and counselors from other schools) with an amazing booth (right)!

Melissa Trifiletti Recruits in Alaska

I traveled to Juneau, Anchorage, Kenai and Fairbanks, Alaska where I met some pretty great students who are very interested in studying in the lower 48 states.  This was my first time to Alaska and it is filled with wonderful people and amazing wildlife and scenery.  The moose I saw (left) was not behind a fence/window.  It was a balmy 25 degrees daytime high when I left Fairbanks on October 23rd.  





Celeste Krueger Recruits in Hawaii

Fall is my favorite time of the year because of the changing leaves and pumpkin scented everything.  However the life of an admissions counselor spends their fall living out of a suitcase, drinking bad hotel coffee, standing for hours at a college fair booth and navigating different streets in a new rental car each week. 

For me September was spent visiting 35 high schools on the islands in Hawaii.  Yes, I know what you are thinking “poor you, you have to go to Hawaii”. But, in reality it is really hard work. I spend a majority of the day racing from high school to high school or the occasional community college, providing each student and counselor with individualized attention. It is nothing like a vacation. I do feel lucky to be provided the opportunity to meet amazing people on the islands and work with caring counselors; those relationships make it all worth it. 

October meant visiting Arizona twice for large college fairs and high school visits and making rounds to Oregon high schools.  There is no fall season in Arizona so my love for crisp mornings and falling orange leaves were replaced with cactus and dirt.  The college fairs are always well attended and the high school visit attendance never disappoints, making Arizona a very worthwhile stop on my busy travel schedule. 

Karen Hanson Recruits Abroad

For the past several years I have traveled internationally to seek out the best and the brightest international students for PSU.  I’ve been fortunate enough to visit such fascinating places as India and the Middle East, and most recently Latin America (that's me to the right next to some police offiers in Lima, Peru).  Believe it or not, these trips are not nearly as glamorous as they may sound (I’m sure my road warrior colleagues will agree).  Long, uncomfortable flights; hours upon hours in lines at airports, including security checks that are so personal they can’t be described in this G-rated newsletter; luggage sent to Iran while I’m in Jordan; and eagle attacks. Yes, I was actually attacked by an eagle on my hotel balcony in Kolkata several years ago.  There are, however, moments of pure joy, as well, involving new cultural experiences, food, and describing the wonderfulness that is Portland State to someone half way around the world.

Chris Anderson Remembers Recruiting in China

When I worked in domestic admission recruitment, I had a goal four school visits per day, and then host "coffee and conversation" meetings with students at coffee shops in the afternoons.  

China, where I have been for the past two weeks, is a bit different. If I visit two schools in a day, that's a huge accomplishment.  One visit usually takes at least four hours: a formal presentation to the entire student body with colleagues from four other US universities, a general "Q&A" session for the students, a college fair (booths for students to come ask us questions), individual student interviews (between 1 and 30 individual students per school), then an hour and a half long lunch or dinner.  We leave the hotel by 7:00 a.m., and usually get back at about 10:00 p.m.

[Picture left is of Victor Viking overtaking a model of ShiJiaZhang No. 2 High School]

International recruitment travel isn't more or less grueling than domestic travel, it's just a very different type of grueling. The PSU message is the same (urban location, strong academic programs that prepare you for your career, active and diverse student body).  However, the challenge is how to convey that message to students who are not fluent in English, and who only have one frame of reference to compare schools - US News rankings.