Monday, March 20, 2017

A Day in the Life of: A St. Mike's Admissions Counselor

Meet Matt Seklecki!!!

Matt graduated from SMC in 2011 with a B.A. in History and Political Science. Since then, he has become a beloved admissions counselor at St. Mike's, as well as the tour guide and open house advisor for Founder's Society.

What originally drew you to St. Mike's as a student? (Matt had many stories, but here's one of them.)

I first visited St. Mike's in the Fall of 2006 as a senior in high school. my parents and I came the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and nobody was here. The campus was dead, quieter than I've ever seen it as an employee. We drove around and liked the area, and we were on our way to some Canadian colleges anyway. I'm also a Book Award recipient. Then I came back in April for an accepted student program and it just felt right - the size fit, and I talked with Jeff Ayers of Political Science and he was interesting and very easy to talk with. All of the cards just fell into place.

Why did you choose to apply to work at St. Mike's after graduation?

I was a tour guide for three years and was what is now the Open House & Yield Events Coordinator for two years, so I was familiar with the admission office. There were two jobs open, and so I applied. I really thought that I would just go home and do another summer of catering and travel in the fall and not really do anything for a bit and not have a plan, and probably terrified my parents. But I interviewed with the entire admissions staff one day in May and got a call in June, and they offered me the job - and here were are, almost six years later. I love St. Mike's and it's very easy to talk about my experience, and I've never really had trouble selling the value of a St. Mike's education, or talking to parents, students, and counselors. It's allowed me to do a wide range of different things from event planning to travelling - I think it really builds your self-confidence that "Hey, I just navigated the entire east coast for a Fall without too many hitches."

What's different about working here vs. being here as a student?

I think the lens that you view the college through is a big piece of it. As a student you're taking classes, getting involved in extra-curriculars, and pursuing a degree. As a staff member, especially in admissions, I'm responsible for selling the college on a daily basis and promoting St. Mike's to a wide range of audiences, and I think being knowledgeable about every part of the college to some degree. I think the real difference is the relationships. You talk to faculty and other staff a little differently, and interact with them differently when you're a peer in some regards instead of a student. It was definitely an adjustment; you really learn the ins and outs and build professional relationships with people as opposed to having student relationships. And you get to leave at the end of the day. I can go home and separate the St. Mike's that I work at, the St. Mike's that I'm an alum at, and then having a personal life. When you're a student, it's all one thing.

What is your favorite thing about St. Mike's?

The people. As frustrated as I may get sometimes at certain members of the community when we're trying to pull off an event, I just take a moment and watch the interactions that faculty and staff have with prospective and accepted students. I'm just amazed at what our students do and what they have done. I've always been proud to be an alum. It's a great place and there are so many opportunities - the people, the relationships with those's the little things. We have our own little community in the admissions office, with all of the hard times that we share and how we pick each other up on a bad day, or support each other with all the things we're doing, in our professional lives and our personal lives. I feel there's a really strong sense of community that we talk about in a lot of our marketing publications, and I always tell families it's (in my experience) incredibly accurate. We don't just talk fluff about community, it's very solid.

What's the most stressful part of your job?

Feeling the weight of the college on our shoulders. We're responsible for bringing in the first-year class every year. If you look at our budget, the amount of revenue that comes from tuition is most of it, so our efforts are crucial. I think we feel collectively that if we miss by even a couple of students, it's a big deal. I do think that especially in years when the budget is tight, when we're not hitting numbers that we need to, we feel especially responsible for everyone's livelihood. That's a huge thing to feel.

What's the most rewarding part of your job?

Last year, the Class of 2016 was the first class that I recruited of high school seniors. I can think of one in particular who I met at her high school in the fall, and was happy to send her an admit letter, watched enroll, and that was awesome, and then watched her grow over four years of college and graduate from St. Mikes. It's just incredibly rewarding to see a student go through that entire process and to have such a positive experience, and make a big difference here.

What is some advice that you would give to students going through the college admissions process?

Take a deep breath, relax, and slow down. It's a long, complicated, stressful, grueling process. You can manage all of that by being organized and timely. Explore options, use your resources - there are so many available: counselors, all of the online stuff. We as admissions people re not scary people, we're trying to help you. And know your contact information - it's my biggest pet peeve as of late.

Thank you Matt!

For more about Matt, check out his admission profile.

Is there a particular major, club, or person you want to know more about (or have something else you want to chat about)? Contact me:

Twitter: @thebeardedchris
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