It’s that time of the year when high school seniors wanting to continue their education make the big decision of which college to attend. One of the defining moments that go into that decision is first impressions. Many students at SUNY New Paltz can probably remember touring the school and being on campus for the first time. This is all thanks to our Student Ambassadors.
Student Ambassadors are the people we see on campus followed by a bunch of tired high school students and their eager parents. The ambassadors are our tour guides, but they also answer questions and guide families over email. Every year there is an open house in the fall and spring where the student ambassadors work alongside student volunteers.
Not only is it the time of year to pick a college but it is also the time of year when students at New Paltz can apply for the opportunity to be a Student Ambassador.
Saskia Kamerling, a second-year music major with a concentration in classical performance and a Student Ambassador, compared ambassadors to orientation leaders. She said that like orientation leaders, Student Ambassadors are “very animated, very energetic and super passionate and outgoing.”
Even though they present themselves as bubbly and energetic people, Kamerling says you can be more introverted and softer spoken and still be an excellent ambassador. The hiring process can be competitive but it’s easy to apply and the interview process is pretty simple. The biggest piece of advice that Kamerling had was to “go in with confidence and the ability to say ‘I don’t know but I’ll ask someone,’ and a passion for the university is what they’re looking for.”
When Kamerling was shadowing other ambassadors, most of the campus was closed to the public because of COVID-19 cases. The only hard part during the height of the pandemic was staying outside in the cold. Now, families can visit their tour guides dorm rooms and go inside any of the academic buildings.
Overall, Kamerling likes her job and says the only difficult part is the open houses. She said that the day is “really, really intensive. Some people are giving tours but you’re also running booths and packing up big signs and it’s a 7 a.m. start.”
Other than these few days a year, she says her job is very accommodating. Out of all her campus responsibilities, being an ambassador is the most flexible.
“Honestly, some of my other jobs can be a real time drain and get in the way of my schoolwork,” she said. “But this one makes sure that your schedules are always built around your academic schedule.”
For high school students that are visiting New Paltz, Kamerling recommends that you simply get involved.
“If you’re not sure about coming to New Paltz, get to know the ambassadors, get to know professors in your major or coaches for your sport,” she said.
Student Ambassador applications are due on March 4 and the interview process starts soon after that. If you are interested in being an ambassador, you can find more information on the SUNY New Paltz Undergraduate Admissions webpage.