Senior Admissions Officer Chuck Hughes '92 says that the greeters greatly enhance the impact of a student visit.
"I think it's what distinguishes our information sessions," Hughes says. "I can give general information on concentrations and tutorials, but students can provide more personal examples from their classes or their thesis."
Hughes adds that particularly for admissions officers who did not attend Harvard or are older alumni, the greeters are essential to providing an up-to-date perspective on the school.
The UAC's hosting program also requires a great deal of student support.
"Harvard will honor a request for a student to visit the college anytime throughout the week," Lamar says. "You don't even have to have been admitted."
The UAC uses a network of dorm representatives to recruit hosts for visiting applicants. Whenever possible, visitors are placed with first-years since they are closest to the application process. At particularly busy times such as the pre-frosh weekend in April, all undergrads are called upon to open their doors.
While staying at Harvard, visitors are often introduced to volunteers from the new UAC regional representative program.
Applicants can fire questions at regional reps with whom they share a high school, town, or just a general geographical region. Sometimes regional reps also correspond with prospective students by mail or e-mail, answering questions as they arise.
"The student on campus will serve as a resource to applicants," Lamar explains. "Being from the South myself, I often meet with students applying from the same region who have concerns similar to those I experienced on applying."
When students are admitted in December and April, UAC again calls on volunteers to assist with outreach projects to accepted students. At the beginning of February, UAC will send accepted early action students a package of publications, information brochures and other goodies. About a week later, UAC will follow up with a calling campaign over a series of weekday evenings.
"I think that undergrads enjoy doing this both because it's nice to share the excitement of admission to Harvard and also to connect with someone from your region," Lamar says.
And of course, planning is already taking place for UAC's highest profile program, the pre-frosh weekend in April. The annual extravaganza is the prime opportunity for many accepted students to 'kick the tires' on Harvard.
"These activities are really important," says Wendy Chang '93, the senior admissions officer who coordinates UAC activities. "Prospective students come to visit and admissions officers can talk and talk, but they really value conversations with current students."
And the UAC encourages students to help out.
Lamar says that UAC tables actively at registration, especially to first-years, and that activities are open to students at all times.
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