Recognizing that Chicago is one of the largest markets in the country for prospective college students, Andy Harder, ’80 is focused on recruiting students from the Windy City with the help of the referral program. Chicago is a difficult market to tap into, and Andy knows from experience that a traditional college fair is not going to help attract Chicago’s high school students to a small college in Michigan.
“I believe we need to recruit one student at a time with people who know them best like a coach, equestrian trainer, pastor, or youth minister,” he said. “This isn’t about making a referral to a senior. It takes time to build these relationships.” Since many students are desperately looking for scholarships, Andy feels that the referral program has the added benefit of making a personal connection to students and their families.
As an alumnus with a son who is currently attending Albion, Andy knows about the advantages of an Albion College education, especially when it comes to forming personal connections. During his time as a student, he was fortunate to have built relationships with some of the legendary leaders in Albion’s history. “It’s the relationships that are made at Albion that make a difference. These people made a lasting impact on my life, and I’m thrilled to observe the same kind of leadership being demonstrated at Albion today,” he said.
With the understanding that many people in Chicago haven’t even heard of Albion, Andy is working hard to connect the dots by reaching out to local alumni. “There are many ties to Albion in Chicago, but we need a coordinated strategy to make those connections in order to identify students that will visit and ultimately attend,” he said.
By pulling together all of the pieces and creating a solid network of alumni in the area, he’s hoping to generate excitement about the transformation that’s happening in Albion. “I like to ask prospective students if they want to be a participant or a spectator. At Albion, the level of campus involvement is differentiating, and the result is a deeper educational experience where lifelong relationships are formed.”
For more information about the Alumni/Parent Referral Program, visit albion.edu/referral or call the Office of Admission at 800/858-6770.
Transfer Profile: Emily Espinosa, '16
What made you pick Albion College?
I applied and auditioned for several different schools, including some very large ones, but when I visited these bigger schools I felt so insignificant. Even from just campus visits I felt like I did not matter and would never be heard. I knew that I needed something more personal where I could make an impact and contribute.
When I visited Albion College, I immediately felt the emphasis on the individual students. Each one mattered. I knew that I would matter. Everyone was really friendly and made me feel so welcome. It was such a wonderful experience I had not received anywhere else that my mind was made up. This was the school for me.
So far, how is Albion different from your previous school?
Albion is very different from my last school. One of the things that immediately struck me upon arriving was how everyone here really wants to be here and wants to learn. Here the teachers hold high expectations that really motivate us students to do our best and truly invest ourselves in learning.
Also, at Albion I have noticed how the college is connected as a community. Because of the small classes, students get to know their classmates and teachers well. Chances are, while walking through the quad, you will see many friendly faces you can greet as friends. Albion is a college that really fosters relationships and values each and every student.
What are you studying? What are you involved in?
I am an Elementary English Language Arts major with a minor in Spanish. Initially I came in as a music major, but after taking an education class, I realized that my new dream was to be an elementary school teacher. The education program here at Albion is phenomenal and I am enjoying every second of it! One of my favorite parts about the program is that for every education class, we are placed in a public school classroom where we get field experience and get to interact with students and teachers around the community.
Even though I switched from my music major, I am still very involved in music on campus. I am also very involved with Christian life on campus and participate in Chapel and InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. Through these groups I have met incredible people and made lasting friendships that have truly changed me and helped me grow.
What are you plans after graduating from Albion?
After graduating from Albion I plan to continue my education and get a masters degree. Perhaps I will teach for a few years before doing that, or do some traveling. I want to see more of the world. My classes here at Albion have really inspired a thirst in me to learn more than just what can be taught in a classroom. They have opened my eyes to the incredible wealth of knowledge and opportunities that are out there and made me eager to pursue them.
What was the transfer process like for you?
Transferring schools is a daunting process and I did not know where to start. Thanks to the wonderful help and guidance from the Admission Office it turned out to be a much smoother transition than I had anticipated. She made everything very clear and easy for me to do and before I knew it, I was a Brit. It did not stop there though. Even once I got here I was surrounded by a plethora of resources and helping hands. People were so eager and willing to help me with everything that the fear that I had felt going into the process completely vanished and I transitioned to my new life with confidence.
What's been the most pleasantly surprising thing you've seen at Albion?
The most pleasantly surprising thing that I have experienced at Albion is how at home I feel here. I feel like this is where I belong. It surprised me because, as a transfer student, I was coming in not knowing a single other person and was rather worried about finding that feeling of inclusion and acceptance. It has been incredible, though. I have never felt so much a part of something and that is very empowering and encouraging.