Alison McCarty, MassBay Community College Director of Admissions, explains that for someone who has never been to college or who comes from a family who has never sent anyone to college, just walking through the front door at a college can be an anxiety-filled experience. At MassBay, however, anyone who walks through the door is welcomed by instructors and higher education professionals who are welcoming and who really care about what they’re doing, and greet those prospective students as individuals.
“Fundamentally, college is about helping students develop opportunities and create choices for themselves. In admissions, we’re all about reaching out, helping people understand what MassBay is, helping them understand how MassBay can help them, but number one and most importantly, is helping them identify their goals and number two, achieve those goals.”
“The folks who work in admissions talk to people on the phone, we answer emails, and we’re responding to people through social media, but we’re also out on the road every week. We go to college fairs at high schools. We go out and make specific presentations at places of business or at high schools.”
“If there’s a particular interest from that institution, we’ll talk specifically to that group. We host events here on campus. Our big events, a few times a year, are called open house events, when hundreds of people come see MassBay at the same time, but we also host smaller informational events.”
“A good number of the students at MassBay are among the first in their family to go to college—first-generation students. That means they have no people living at home with them who have navigated the going-to-college process before. That creates a very high-anxiety situation not just for the student, but for the whole family, and often, immigrant families don’t speak English at home and have trouble understanding what the college is asking their student to do. At MassBay, we have started formatting information sessions for families that are presented in Spanish, or Portuguese, or Haitian Creole. We now have a Coaching Commons here at MassBay, where any student can visit. If they are having trouble figuring out where to go to get something in particular done, there are people and resources there to help those students.”
“We don’t just reach out to families, but also make sure that we’re attentive to a student’s needs and have put resources in place so that all of our students can succeed. We have an expression here at MassBay, which is #oneteam. We’re all in it together, and the way that students experience interactions with one person sets expectations for their interactions with other people. We’re all as welcoming as possible so that our students feel better about where they are and feel better about themselves, so they will be more successful.”