Beth Bowman and her husband, Ted, were all set to help their son, Charlie, with his college search when they realized they had a daunting task in front of them. Not only were they searching for a perfect match to Charlie’s thirst for Latin and Greek languages and history, but they were struggling to find any firsthand insight about the schools they looked at. “We didn’t hear anything from parents or alumni of other schools,” says Beth. Except, she says, from one school: Xavier.
Last fall, the University created the parent and alumni recruitment team, better known as PART. The interdisciplinary organization spawned from a collaborative effort between the office of admission and the national alumni association as an effort to generate alumni and parent involvement and to help ease the burden from the University’s nine admission counselors. PART’s goal is to train parents and alumni on how to help recruit students to Xavier.
PART volunteers represent Xavier at college fairs, deliver materials to high schools, place phone calls to parents of prospective students and participate in other admission events. Those who know the University are always the best sources of advertising. Charlie Bowman—now a sophomore in the honors bachelor of arts program—is a good example.
Eager to share the positive influence they had with helping Charlie, Beth contacted Lisa Burns, PART director, to see what she and her husband could do. After receiving a list of area high schools in the Toledo, Ohio, area where they live, they agreed to host a luncheon for guidance counselors. Everyone who was invited showed up—plus some extras.
Counselors and parents approached Beth and Ted, chatting with them about the Xavier experience, eventually asking them if they worked for Xavier. “When I would say, ‘No, I’m a parent,’ they’d be blown away,” says Beth. “There was a human face attached and not just an admission viewbook. Parents enjoy talking to other parents.”
Next on the Bowman’s agenda is a send-off party in honor of the 30 newly accepted freshmen from Toledo, giving them a chance to connect with each other before heading off to the University in August. As for the Bowmans, they have never been more proud to spread the word about Xavier.
“I can unabashedly say to parents that it is a wonderful place,” says Beth.
Parents and alumni are already natural recruiters because of their interest in and enthusiasm about the University, says Burns. When combined with some training, they have the potential to become some of the most powerful and effective ambassadors for recruiting students.
Just ask Charlie Bowman.