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Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Parents, alumni tell stories to recruit

In an attempt to recruit new Wildcats, the Office of Admissions has alumni and parents sharing their stories with potential students.

Parents and Alumni Working with Students started about three years ago, but has recently undergone changes to help increase volunteer involvement.

“We didn’t have a lot of efforts going into it, so we were trying to figure out how we could get more people involved,” said Marc Acuña, assistant director for non-resident recruitment. “I like to say it’s the parent experience or the alumni experience.”

Acuña has been involved with the program for about a year, and refers to it as “Parents and Alumni Working with Students 2.0,” after the program’s recent revamp. The changes aim to get parents and alumni excited about the recruitment process.

Parents and alumni are now free to create and express their own experiences at the UA, rather than being given specific assignments and demands.

“My involvement with (Parents and Alumni Working with Students) is to help promote the University of Arizona in an outlying city and to show people that University of Arizona, from a parent’s perspective, truly cares about your son or daughter,” said Joel Lewis, a parent of a UA student and a Parents and Alumni Working with Students volunteer.

When members in the program first join, they are given a handbook that covers the do’s and don’ts, basic admission information and cost of attendance as well as other information about the university, Acuña said.

Once they sign an official letter, they become active members of the program and meet one-on-one with a UA recruiter in their area. From there, parents and alumni are free to determine how to promote the UA, either by adopting a high school to continuously recruit students from or simply reaching out to students at college fairs.

“There’s only so much you can learn from reading a brochure or perusing a website,” said Stefany Blinn, an alumna and volunteer with Parents and Alumni Working with Students. “I think sharing that actual alumni experience really resonates with some of the high school seniors that we talk to.”

Parents and alumni share their experiences with both other parents and potential students. Alumni can spend one-on-one time with students and share their UA stories, while parents can talk to students and their parents about what it’s like to go through the process, Acuña said.

Lewis, whose daughter currently attends the UA, can relate to other parents who are sending their children off to college, he said. He reassures them about the safety of the UA and the open communication students experience with the university.

“As a parent, you want to make sure your child is having the best experience that they can have,” Lewis said. “PAWS is a link between the child and their parent.”

Although Lewis and his wife are both new to the program, he said he feels as if they have been on board forever. He constantly represents the UA wherever he goes, he said, which allows him to strike up conversations with those who seem interested in attending.

“Our goal is to build lifetime Wildcats. Once you graduate here you’re still a part of this family and you can always help us with recruitment and admissions and still be involved with the university,” Acuña said. “I love the ‘alumni for life’ motto. I am alumni, so you’re here forever.”

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