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.