For current students here at Saint Augustine’s University, the Spring 2017 semester is coming to a close. Students are taking finals, and the campus Prezell library has experienced an increase of students visiting to study in preparation for their exams. Seniors are set to participate in the commencement ceremony held on May 13th where they will be receiving their earned Bachelor Degrees. As these students become alumni’s, future Falcons are applying to SAU.
Although the semester ends in May for many students, some have decided to participate in the university’s maymester and summer school components. On SAU’s campus, there is rarely a moment where learning and hard work is not taking place; This is true for SAU’s admissions team as well. A lot of hard work and dedication is put into working with students and their parents to become young scholars at the University.
The admission team works to ensure that SAU is among the colleges that students have on their application list. A recent article from the New York Times online Sunday Review, entitled “Why I Chose a Historically Black College” by Skylar Mitchell was published on April 1, 2017. The article discussed the viewpoint of a prospective student’s experiences with deciding whether or not to attend an HBCU. From the information presented the report concluded that black colleges are still valuable and serve an important role in the development of the African American community especially the youth. The author of this piece is currently a sophomore at Spelman College. Skylar Mitchell wrote, “There is something powerful about attending an institution that was built for you… At Spelman, I found a place for myself in the curriculum, and an opening to learn what it means to be me.” Mitchell wrote a lot about the importance for her to attend an HBCU. Spelman is a liberal arts and humanities based college even though it is an all-women’s college it has many things in common with SAU such as both colleges being an HBCU.
SAU as a university offers a great sense of community that is shared on campus. For prospective students working with the admissions team may be the first experience students have with getting to know the university. To gain more insight on the importance of the admissions team here at SAU a Q&A interview was conducted.
The Q&A interview was conducted on Monday, April 24th with Mr. Chris Withers, director of admissions and Mr. Jarius Page, an SAU admissions recruiter. The admissions team also includes other representatives such as Ms. Jasmine Atkinson, Ms. Takeya Singleton, and Mr. Harold Mallette. (Note all team member names are not listed here. For availability purposes, the whole admissions team was not interviewed.) For each answer to the following questions below the name of the speaker for that particular question is labeled in parentheses before their answer.
Q: As an admissions team, what are your main goals and duties here at SAU?
A: (Mr. Withers) “One of the main goals is to promote the college to the public. We are in charge of that globally as well as a part of the whole United States. Each year a goal has to be made. For example, this year the goal is 600 so we have to try to get as close to that goal. First and foremost, what this admissions team does better than any admissions team on the planet is when they get here we help service our students. It remains to be seen, and it is a fact that all of the students we brought in last semester still come to visit the office. We still provide services and talk to parents. In a nutshell that is what we do. Mr. Page does a wonderful job at that as well.”
Q: Why are SAU Tours so important?
A: (Mr. Page) “It opens up the doors so students can actually see the life on the campus of SAU. Students can interact and engage with real students who attend SAU here.”
Q: About how many tours occur per day or how many tours have occurred within the past 3 months?
A: (Mr. Withers) “Probably, the week before last we did about seven. Mr. Page interjects, “About two tours per day.” Last week probably experienced five tours a week. The tours range at different times and different places. We had from California, Las Vegas, North Carolina (Raleigh, Charlotte) so it just depends. They can come from anywhere.”
Q: Have you seen an increase in enrollment from students from particular areas?
A: (Mr. Withers) “We have seen enrollment in North Carolina such as areas in Charlotte. We have seen increase enrollment with students in the Bahamas which I will be going to next week. We have seen an increase in enrollment with students from California. They are coming from all different places. That is due to the work of the admissions team.”
Q: What important role do Student Ambassadors serve and how do they contribute to the admissions team and perspective students?
A: (Mr. Withers) “There role is to promote the college and to help out the admissions team. In my opinion, in some ways, you have to give it to the student ambassadors because the student ambassadors are going to let the story be known better than I will. I graduated in the 90’s so Mr. Page he is a current graduate. They can tell the story right now better than I can. The students don’t want to hear what happened in the 1990’s they want to know what is happening in 2017.”
Q: What advice would you give prospective students for when they become an SAU student?
A: (Mr. Withers) “Affordability and financial aid play a major key. When the students get here, they need to keep their grades up. Students should also be active in whatever programs we have on campus. Mr. Page adds, “Go to class.” If not, we will come to the dormitory and get you.”
Q: Are there any increasing numbers for a particular major and why do you think that is the case?
A: (Mr. Page) “We have seen a lot of criminal justice majors and psychology majors. More so with the high schools now they are teaching their children to go into those fields. Criminal justice specifically is a field that will always be there especially in the economy where we are today. It is highly needed for African Americans.”
Q: What are some tools and strengths that have made the overall admissions process smoother to advance the overall process?
A: (Mr. Withers) “What I am hoping to do and what we are attempting to do is: We have a company called 3D Technologies that has come on our campus to help us out. One of our goals for next year is to go paperless. As far as the operations in the office we are trying to use texting. We have a requisition in place. However, we have just found out that CAM’s can possible do texting and communicate. I think that the university will never do away with paper applications so unfortunately, we are always going to have to use paper applications. On the flip side we have to make our website more user-friendly so that parents can apply via the website so hopefully, that can increase our volume.”
Q: Any upcoming events, announcements, etc. from the admissions department?
A: (Mr. Withers) “There are our two trips that I am excited about. Mr. Page will be going to Orlando, Florida at the end of this week. We just meet a contact out of Las Vegas, Nevada Ms. Singleton with be doing that. Me and Dr. Faulcon will be traveling to the Bahamas next week. We have the Independent Counselors session; we are going to have between twenty and fifty guidance counselors coming on campus in July. We are trying to put together a local college counselor’s session here in May. Those are some of the things we are excited about. We just had a successful Open House. Last year the open house was excellent, and this year it was good, so we kind of brought it back. We are taking steps to put SAU back on the map.”
If you are interested in applying to Saint Augustine’s University or know someone from a family member to a friend; check out the following links below in which directs one to further information on the steps to becoming a Falcon. The first link leads one to the official online admissions page here at SAU: http://admissions.st-aug.edu/ this is where parents and student can find more information on admissions requirements, majors, scheduling a campus visit and tour as well as admissions contact information. The second link is a direct connection to SAU’s online application: https://www2.cfnc.org/exclusive.html#/applicationlogin/SainAU/Undergrad/SainAUUndergradApp. The article that was mentioned above from New York Times is interesting and a thought-provoking editorial piece the link to it is as follows: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/01/opinion/sunday/finding-growth-at-my-historically-black-college.html?_r=0.
By Jazmin Powell