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The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Life in the Admissions Department in the eyes of Andy Strickler

Andy Strickler came to Guilford College at the beginning of this school year as the new director of admission.

Strickler is in for a lot of hard work in these upcoming months as he faces new plans and budget cuts. The Guilfordian sat down with the director of admission to talk about his role and how he plans to handle the challenges of his department.


The Guilfordian: As head of admissions, what are some of your expectations?

Andy Strickler: My expectations are that we are going to accurately, effectively and authentically convey the message of what a Guilford education means, what the value of it is.

G: What are your responsibilities in admissions? I know you are head of the admissions, but what are some of your roles within that and other than that?

AS: (Supervising) the counseling staff, (doing) final review on applications, (doing) final review of paragraphs or personalizing a paragraph in admit letters this year, (directing) communication flow (and) strategic communication flow, messaging, providing liaisons within the marketing staff. That is primarily it, but anything that really comes into the recruitment or evaluation of prospective students comes out of my desk.

G: What are some of the things you did at other schools that they weren’t doing here that you learned and brought over?

AS: Personalizing the letters is one thing for sure. We are spending a little bit of time and energy telling kids why we think they are a good fit for Guilford and identifying in the application something about them that we like or we think is special, whether it is their essay or their experiences.

The second thing is we need a clearer sense of a strategic plan as to how we do the work that we do and that’s been part of the transition. … (We also need) better communication as well. Our marketing person is new; she has just finished her first year. I arrived in September, so we are spending a lot of time and energy with two offices trying to create a more consistent feedback, messaging, (and) marketing plan.

G: So how is this $2.2 million budget cut going to affect the Office of Admission?

AS: For us, it is going to impact students from North Carolina who applied for admissions and have been accepted this year. With the state cutting financial aid pretty much across the board, our perspective for them is that their financial package or the financial reality of attending Guilford will be different.

G: Than it would have been?

AS: Than this group of students that arrived this fall and into the recent past.

G: Does it affect North Carolina students that were already here?

AS: I believe so, yes.

G: Last question — sports. Has that helped you in admissions at all? We know you are an avid sports fan and meet with coaches.

AS: I do. I have an athletic background, but my philosophy is that anything a student does outside the classroom can be and should be a “hook,” as I like to call it. It’s a way in which we can bring in a student in a meaningful and tangible way. The upside of attending a school that has 1,300 traditional students is the opportunity to get involved in co-curricular activities, and that could be athletics, it could be student government, it could be writing for the school paper, it could be theater, it could be music, it could be community service, it could be anything like that.

My philosophy has always been that it is a major selling point that a small college has over a large university. So I believe in facilitating a conversation with prospective students and admitted students on co-curricular activities so that they can better envision what their life could be like. Sports happens to be the one people tend to focus on because at my previous institution, about 30 percent of the students were varsity athletes. Three out of every 10 kids at the institution were varsity athletes, and that is a huge chunk of the student body.

G: Do you know what it is here?

AS: I don’t know off the top of my head, but look at it from an athletic perspective. Every student has the opportunity to go to class, get an education and have a vibrant and co-curricular life, and engaging them in conversations that will allow them to see that and envision that and, as a result, want that for their college experience, and that is what we do.

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