I interned at the University of Richmond’s Office of Admission for essentially the entirety of this summer. The internship began on May 15th and ended, just a week ago, on August 23rd. I took only one week off and each other week that I was there I was doing work helping to run the front of the office, but I was also learning about what the Office of Admission does and how it functions. Many of the goals that I had before I secured my internship continued to be goals for me after I knew where I would be interning this summer. The main outcomes that I wanted from my internship were to learn how to answer a professional phone call, be able to speak in front of a large group of people, manage my time well, learn about the behind the scenes of the processes of college admission, and take advantage of the location of my internship: Richmond. I believe I achieved all of these—in different ways, to different degrees.
My first goal—to be able to answer a professional phone call—I was actually surprised to fulfill. The interns in the office ended up having the unexpected responsibility of helping with the answering the phones. This required us to be able to help answer questions that people calling had, or be able to direct them to the right place or person in order to have them answered. It was a little bit awkward at first, especially if I did not know the answer to a question or who to go to. I do now feel at least marginally more comfortable answering the phone in a professional setting.
My second goal—to be able to speak in front of a large group of people—was also fulfilled. I was anticipating this when applying to the Office of Admission intern position, as it is in part of the description that we were to be able to give the information session before visitors were to go out on tour. I began training on the information session right when I began my internship. We started by observing an intern that was already trained on giving information sessions. Then, we were given the information session Prezi to look over and began to craft our own version of the presentation. This training took longer than expected, even though we got started on it right away. We began with the training for the first half of the presentation. This part is more focused on what the University of Richmond has to offer, so it could be filled with more personal stories. It took approximately one and a half weeks to complete the first portion of the information session. It took this long mainly due to scheduling conflicts with our supervisor. The extra time, though, allowed us to really think about the personal stories we wanted to share. The second portion is more about the University of Richmond’s application statistics and processes. Therefore, we did not need as much time on this part, as there were not as many opportunities to add personal stories. As part of my training, I had to give the information session in front of my supervisor, as well as other members of the Office of Admission staff. This was not a large group, but all of them were knowledgeable about what should be included in of the presentation.
After I was approved to give the information session, I started pretty much right away with giving it. The first group that I gave the information session to was about thirty people. I was nervous, but not too much, as it was to a group of strangers. I gave a lot of information sessions this summer and the content changed in small ways throughout as I became more comfortable giving it. The largest group I presented in front of was nearly one-hundred people. Therefore, I think I did fulfill the goal of being able to speak in front of large groups. It did not always go smoothly, but I now feel better about doing so, at least in front of groups of strangers.
My third goal—to better manage my time—I am not sure about. I was correct in that a similar schedule each day is helpful for me. I do think that I had great time management within the hours that I was working in the office. I got all of my tasks done in a timely manner and balanced what work I was doing at certain points throughout the day. I am not sure, however, about the time outside of the office. There was not much for me to do for work outside of the 8:30am to 5:00pm hours, however I feel like I could have taken better advantage of my other time and picked up a hobby or something.
My fourth goal—to learn about the behind the scenes processes of college admission—was fulfilled to a degree. I learned a lot about the admission process through my preparation for the information session. This information, however, are things we share with prospective students, so it was not that much “behind the scenes.” I did a few projects throughout the summer that allowed me to see a little bit more of the work done after prospective students have applied, and even after they have enrolled as students at the University of Richmond. Through these projects I also got to see a little bit of how the Office of Admission works within the context of the University of Richmond as a whole. This is in regards to alumni relations, various academic departments, the professors themselves, and the events office, I think my biggest “behind the scenes” look, however, was the opportunity to go to three college fairs during my internship. Myself and another intern travelled to both Boys and Girls State, as well as Governor’s School for science and mathematics students. Most of the students at these events were rising high school seniors, so it was a really great time for them to be investigating schools, as well as for us to be presenting ourselves to them. These college fairs were informative because we got to see how other schools throughout Virginia, as well as some from out of state, present themselves to prospective students. I learned that going to college fairs and to visit high schools is a large part of what the staff in the Office of Admission does throughout the year.
My fifth and final goal—to take advantage of all that the city of Richmond has to offer—was fulfilled somewhat. I did do some fun things in Richmond this summer, such as go to the Riverrock and watermelon festivals, go to the James River, take a canal boat ride, go to a farmer’s market, see movies at the Byrd Theatre, and eat at a lot of restaurants. All of these were a lot of fun, but I do wish that I could have done more. I feel like there is so much to do in Richmond that it can be overwhelming sometimes, but I do feel that I could have accomplished more things during my time here this summer. I was so tired throughout each week, however, that I did not want to do a lot on week nights, so I may have missed some things there.
Overall, I feel accomplished in my internship. I will continue to work in the Office of Admission during this year as a Lead Office Assistant. I learned a lot through my work this summer that I can hopefully carry over into my work for the year. Something that I learned that was not necessarily a part of my final goals, but something that I was considering before I secured my internship, was the dynamics of the office that I was a part of. This is where the benefits of my Leadership Studies courses became more apparent. I think most of the dynamics trickle down from the Dean of Admission, as he is the highest leader in the office. He makes sure he knows everyone that is working for him, including as many student workers as he can meet. This has rubbed off on a lot of the office, as many staff, at different levels, are often reaching out to student workers to meet them, or even to ask with assistance on projects. The Dean of Admission, from my perspective, has a relationship oriented outlook. This also seems to have rubbed off on other employees. It could be due to the fact that admission work is more relationship oriented to begin with, but I do believe the leader in the office has at least something to do with it.
I did greatly enjoy the work that I did in the Office of Admission and I hope that I will be able to learn more through this year. It is always great to be able to talk to prospective students and hear what they are looking for in a university. I think it did confirm that I enjoy marketing and sales, but the lighter side of it that is offered through admission work. What that means for after graduation, I do not know.