The perfect match. During the college process, it is all about finding your perfect school. Throughout the months of visiting and applying, students explore different schools, to find what they like, what they don’t like and everything in between. The search process is all about finding a place where students can truly see themselves learning, living, and exploring for four years. At Marist, the Student Ambassador Program offers prospective students a personalized visit experience called “Shadow Days.”
Shadow Days are a popular visit program for Marist because they are tailored to each individual student. Most importantly, it is a program by students for students, so that there is an opportunity for intimate, peer-to-peer interaction. It is run by two Ambassadors who truly care about helping prospective students decide if Marist is or isn’t the place for them. Meet Meredith Farrell and Michael Bertelle, the Shadow Day Coordinators. Together they organize dates, pair current and prospective students, and create a calendar of the day’s events to make sure the most is made of a Shadow Day and that it runs smoothly.
Meredith is a junior with a major in Communications and a minor in Paralegal Studies. She will be graduating early in May. Meredith loves the beauty of the Marist campus, especially right now with all the leaves changing across the river. She noted that it makes walks to class all the more enjoyable, and walking around campus is like taking a hike everyday. Michael is also a junior, and has a Business-Finance major with a minor in Economics. He especially loves the Marist community and how all the people that he has met in his three years helped to make the college his home away from home.
For Shadow Days, prospective students register online, providing potential dates and details of their intended major and interests. After signing up, Meredith and Michael pair them with a current student—who is a Marist Ambassador— to host them and then spend the day going to a class, exploring campus, and having lunch in the dining hall. Throughout the day, student will gain more insight on college life and learn answers to questions that they may not feel comfortable asking admission counselors. It is Michael and Meredith who continuously work throughout the weeks to make sure every Shadow Day is planned and personalized. That ranges from pairing students not only by their intended major, but also by other extra-curricular or social interests. Students name the specification, and Michael and Meredith make sure to do their best in adding that aspect to the Shadow Day. The process of preparing for a Shadow Day usually takes about two weeks.
“Our Ambassadors are passionate about Marist and love to talk about it and share all their insights and experiences with prospective students. Admissions Counselors only know so much about student life. By having Ambassadors take part in Shadow Days, visiting students gain a perspective that they can really relate to.” says Meredith, “My Shadow Day as a prospective student lead to a lasting friendship with my Ambassador host. She helped me prior to my freshmen move-in and we still see each other and spend time together.”
However, Michael and Meredith are not just coordinators, this job is something they both love to do because, just like the Ambassador hosts, they know they are making a difference in the decision process for students and that is the best reward.
“During my sophomore year as a host, one of my shadows was very unsure of whether or not he would be applying Marist,” Michael noted, “but after spending those couple hours on campus with me he quickly became set on applying. He ended up coming to Marist, has even studied abroad at our Florence branch campus, and is now a full-on Red Fox.”
Meredith added, “An important thing is that shadow days help students decide in the opposite way, too. For instance, one student—after their shadow day—discovered that Marist wasn’t the college for them. This outcome is just as valuable because that means we helped them end up where they’re suppose to be.” Michael and Meredith agree that that goal of the program is not to sell Marist, but help students find the right fit. The college process is a difficult one that they only hope to help make easier so that a student does find that perfect match.
To sign up for a Shadow Day, click here