After being hired as admission counselors, two alumni, Shabranique Fadzl ’10 and Daniel Safko ’09, have an opportunity to help the Hiram community grow. To fulfill this role, they act as recruiters and liaisons for potential students.
After Fadzl graduated with her bachelor’s degree in music education, she did not plan on returning to the College to kick off her career. Neither did Safko, who went on to earn his master’s degree in history at the University of Akron after double majoring in history and management and minoring in theatre arts at Hiram. But through an interesting turn of events, they were both pleased with the opportunity to return to Hiram this past March, and they now consider themselves best friends.
Fadzl admits that she actually never wanted to leave Hiram in the first place.
“I’ve always wanted to be here at the gem that is Hiram,” she says.
Safko shares the sentiment. He thinks Hiram is a strong and friendly community, a breath of fresh air compared to cloistered communities that “value ignorance.”
“It’s a special place,” he says, “and it’s exciting to return and be an active part of shaping a community that shaped me so much.”
Each admission counselor is assigned a territory to determine which students he or she works with. On top of all of Summit county and about 32 schools in Cuyahoga county, Fadzl is responsible for multicultural events in any county. Safko takes care of southeast Ohio; he recruits east to Youngstown and south to Marietta.
Summer in particular is a time for long term projects in the Office of Admission. Fadzl and Safko are working on preparing all their materials for the 2013-2014 school year and planning their traveling season—a period between mid-September and mid-November when admission counselors visit schools and college fairs. During the relatively slow summer season, Safko has been using down time to create “finding the right college” materials to send out to his students.
The overarching tasks of the admission counselor are staying in contact with students in his or her territory who are interested in Hiram, alerting the students of important application deadlines, helping them understand financial aid packages, advocating for why the students should be admitted, and pointing student questions in the direction of the proper contacts—essentially, the admission counselors play guardian angel up until orientation.
But Fadzl and Safko hope the relationship between counselor and student far outlasts new student orientation.
“When you are able to invest so much of your time and self into the students you recruit, you hope that your relationships progress into great friendships,” Fadzl says.
But the two agree admission counseling is not so much an individual project as it is a group endeavor.
“While each admission counselor has the freedom to do with a territory what he or she sees fit and employ various recruiting strategies, it’s more so a very collaborative environment,” Safko says.
The two say that sharing ideas is such a strong part of the methods of admission counselors, it becomes impossible to remember who developed which strategy—all that really matters is that an idea was put forth and has subsequently improved the team’s work.
“The admission counselor community and my friendship with Shay demonstrate characteristics of the students who come to Hiram,” says Safko. “I value the opportunity to open up those folks to what a liberal arts education has to offer.”