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WVU College of Education and Human Services Student Ambassadors take on new, innovative role

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Brooklyn Reel (left) and Eleni Nardone (right), CEHS student ambassadors with a prospective student.
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Using a variety of connections, including social media and similar interests, the student ambassador program at the West Virginia University College of Education and Human Services is working to recruit and retain prospective students.

Kim Klaus, program director in the CEHS Office of Student Success, said student ambassadors are the best representatives a college has for recruitment.

“Prospective students become more attached and engaged when they have the opportunity to connect with a current student,” said Klaus. It didn’t take me long to realize we could use a tool we already had working for us, our student ambassadors, for even more effective recruiting.”

Klaus launched a new component of the student ambassador program in January, giving each ambassador more than 25 admitted students to work with.

“Establishing these peer-to-peer relationships is a great way for us to increase our admit yield, retaining admitted students through to enrollment,” Klaus said.

Student ambassadors represent every major at CEHS, as well as multiple cities and states. Ambassadors seem to find easy ways to connect with their prospective students, whether it is through their study interests or that they are in-state or out-of-state students; even their hobbies or club interests are sometimes similar.

They are required to contact each of their admitted students at least three times a month through email, phone, Skype, or social media such as Facebook and Snapchat. The conversations are an opportunity for ambassadors to answer questions, share information or just talk about their own experience at WVU.

“Using our student ambassadors to help retain our admitted students through to enrollment is incredibly innovative. Last fall at CEHS, approximately 42% of first-time freshmen undergraduates who were admitted and actually enrolled,” said Gypsy Denzine, Dean of the College of Education and Human Services at WVU. “We look forward to this number increasing, as a result of these peer-to-peer relationships.”

Klaus said the ambassadors are taking initiative and coming up with innovative ideas like a group Skype chat to better connect with prospective students, allowing them to connect with other students who are thinking about WVU as their next academic move, and other ambassadors, as well.

“I think the mentor program is a great idea,” said Jacinda Hickman, junior in speech language pathology and audiology and third year CEHS student ambassador. “I love sharing my advice with incoming freshmen to help ease their transition from high school to college. Most importantly, these students now have a friend that has already learned a lot from their time at WVU.”

An honorary program, each year six-to-12 undergraduate and graduate students are selected to serve the college as ambassadors through participation in recruitment events, phone-a-thons, and alumni events.

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CONTACT: Amy Lutz; Director of Advancement, WVU College of Education and Human Services
304.293.3261; amy.lutz@mail.wvu.edu


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