Hundreds seek ambassador jobs

About 300 undergraduates applied this week to recruit applicants to Yale as part of the newly created Student Ambassadors Program, organizers said Tuesday.

About 21 percent of the applicants are from California and New York — mainly New York City and Los Angeles — two states that already are heavily represented on campus, but 20 percent are from the Southeast, one of the regions where Yale is trying to step up its recruitment efforts, said Steven Syverud ’06, president of the Yale College Council, which is helping organize the program. About 100 students from this pool will be selected by the Admissions Office and the YCC to make recruitment visits to preselected high schools over Thanksgiving break.

The selected students — who will be paid $50 for the first school they visit and $20 for each subsequent school visit — will conduct information sessions at high-achieving, low-income high schools in their home states. The recruitment effort was launched to help market Yale’s new undergraduate financial aid policy that provides more assistance to students from low-income families.

Program organizer Jeremiah Quinlan ’03, an assistant director of undergraduate admissions, said he was pleased with the number of applications the program received.

“I’m very happy with the number; I can tell you that,” Quinlan said. “I’m excited that we have that many people that want to go out and talk to students about Yale and our financial aid.”

Bryan Crady, a guidance counselor at Dupont Manuel High School in Louisville, Ky., said he hopes the program will reach out to underrepresented states like Kentucky. Though four Yale students from Kentucky applied to be ambassadors, Crady said he hopes more will join the program to help recruit in his state.

“I’m sure it will help,” Crady said. “You would like to see other students get involved, but I guess you can’t force other people to sign up if they don’t want to do it. I think it would help if you had more representation of other places.”

Caitlin O’Brien ’08 said she was concerned that many program applicants are from major cities like New York and Los Angeles.

“The way I had looked at it was that it was supposed to be getting students from areas that normally wouldn’t have access to resources for learning about Yale,” O’Brien said. “I just don’t think overall that this program seems to have accomplished what Yale hoped it would.”

But Quinlan said there were some applicants from traditionally underrepresented states like Alabama, Utah and Tennessee among the applications he read. It is unclear at this point whether or not the Admissions Office will continue looking for additional Yale students from rural areas and underrepresented states to participate in the program, Quinlan said.

“It seemed like there were a lot of people from different places that were signing up to do it,” Quinlan said. “I think we’re going to be able to reach a lot of the schools we want to reach.”

Yale Acting Dean of Admissions Margit Dahl said she hopes the program will have a broad reach.

“I think it’s all pretty preliminary,” Dahl said. “I think we would hope to send students beyond New York and California, but it would all depend on the applicant pool.”

Before they are sent to do recruiting over Thanksgiving break, the selected ambassadors will participate in a training session with University admissions and financial aid officials and a handful of students who participated in the ambassadors pilot program last spring.

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