Sharing Carolina's brand from afar
By Liz McCarthy, firstname.lastname@example.org, 803-777-2848
Every day Rachel Hartley wakes up to the Southern California sun. She may have to sit in Los Angeles traffic on her way to the “office.”
From her house, her car and various other stops – including coffee houses and school gymnasiums -- across the West Coast, Hartley promotes USC.
Hartley, a 2006 USC English graduate, and 15 other individuals around the country work as admissions representatives. They work for Carolina’s Office of Undergraduate Admissions but live in various districts where they can form more personal relationships with prospective students.
“Students know if they call me, I can meet them the next week for coffee,” Hartley says. “I think it helps them to know someone is right here for them to talk to. It just seems so far away to consider going to South Carolina.”
USC began its regional representative program about three years ago with six representatives in mostly the Southeast, but the program is expanding, reaching out to California and Texas and north to New York and Washington, D.C.
“Students and parents and counselors these days want that one-on-one attention,” says Elizabeth Orehovec, assistant director in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions who heads up the program. “It allows for someone to be available to meet with the students, and it allows our admissions officers to become integrated into their territory.”
These regional representatives are able to build relationships with high school counselors, interested students and their parents. They can attend high school college fairs and hold “office hours” at nearby cafes for students to ask questions.
“We’re going to the schools twice a year, meeting some of these students three and four times. It really makes our presence in these areas much greater,” Orehovec says. “It’s building our brand.”
These admissions representatives aren’t just flying in for a few weeks a year. That doesn’t get the USC name out there, she says. And so far, the admissions office has found these efforts are making a difference.
In California, for example, where USC had few students applying before Hartley arrived, the admissions office has seen the number of applications – and enrolled students – increase. Hartley says she has noticed more students know about the “other USC” now.
“Our application numbers have doubled every year. Our enrolled students have doubled every year. It’s just about becoming one of our top 10 states,” Orehovec says of California. “We saw that change so dramatically. We measure to make sure that what we’re doing is working and we definitely see that it is.”
About half the representatives are alumni. Lindsay Tulloss, USC’s representative for the Washington, D.C., Maryland and Northern Virginia area, fell into the position after working in admissions for her alma mater, UNC-Greensboro. Although she didn’t attend Carolina, Tulloss loves sharing stories with young students and she loves visiting campus.
“I still feel like a part of campus,” says Tulloss, who travels to campus about four times a year. “But I get to work in D.C. I have the best of both worlds.”
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