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Dayne Wahl ’09 is MCLA’s assistant director of admission.

Admissions Expands Reach with New Programs, Projects

08/17/16

Every day at the MCLA Office of Admission you’ll find prospective students with their families arriving for their campus tour, transfer students meeting with the admissions staff reviewing their prior college transcripts, and knowledgeable and proud student ambassadors ready to tout the benefits of attending the Commonwealth’s public liberal arts college.

Behind all this activity, an admissions staff with a strong bond to their alma mater, who are proud MCLA alumni and find their experiences as graduates to be a valuable asset as they work hard to expand and enhance the College’s reach and to promote its academic excellence, affordability and inclusive community. Those efforts have resulted in more travel to college fairs and high schools, new recruitment programs and sessions for honor students, and a student body that hails from 19 states.

Gina Puc ’07, director of admission, said her staff is about 75 percent MCLA alumni. “I think that says volumes about the community that MCLA has,” she said. “It’s more authentic—and it makes admission counselors more invested.”

Admission counselors have represented MCLA at college fairs in Illinois, Minnesota, Atlanta, Maryland, Missouri and Wisconsin, as well as to specific schools, including performing arts high schools in Atlanta, Ga., and New York City, N.Y.

Dayne Wahl ’09, assistant director of admission, helped spearhead these efforts. “It’s great to be able to share my stories, friends’ stories, and current students’ stories about MCLA,” he said. “I truly love MCLA, and it’s a hidden gem. I love sharing it and bringing it to new places.”

The Admission Office looks closely at the U.S. student population, using demographic predictions to decide where to focus their efforts when traveling out of state. Wahl keeps a “national enrollment climate” map on his desk—it projects a decrease in graduating high school seniors in New England, but upticks in Georgia and Texas. It’s the Admission Office’s aim to respond to those demographic changes and reach students in real time.

New programs have also been instituted as a response to prospective students’ needs. After getting lots of inquiries about MCLA’s honors program, the Admission Office created a scholarship overnight session that brings accepted students to campus. Last year, more than 100 students participated. “We wanted to hone in on students that had received presidential or academic merit scholarships, and really add to our academic community,” Puc said.

An admission officer’s skill set is broad. “We’re marketers, we’re counselors, there’s a lot of data analysis involved,” Puc said. She fell in love with the field after filling in for an admission employee as a student, and then worked as a counselor after she graduated. “I loved meeting people and connecting them with MCLA,” she said.

The same goes for the entire team. “I think all of our admissions counselors are here because they enjoy working with students in helping them choose the right college, as well as professional satisfaction of being able to advance their skills and career in the field of higher education,” Puc said. “The staff is highly committed to MCLA, the admissions field and to public higher education, while personally gaining gratification from connecting  students from the Berkshires and beyond to the great opportunities for them at MCLA.”