Happy fall from Mason Hall! We are enjoying the cool, crisp weather here in Baltimore. The switch from summer to autumn brings the start of a new season in the world of admissions, too—fall travel season! As soon as September hit, our office was buzzing with the activity of counselors getting ready to hit the road. Boxes were packed, schedules were finalized, and flight and hotel reservations were made.
As a new counselor, this was my first experience planning my own recruitment travel. My travel territory currently includes North Carolina and several New England states. I took input from several of my fellow counselors this season, and from those ideas, along with my own experiences, I’ve compiled a list of travel tips that made my first trip to North Carolina a success.
1) Create a Travel Binder. This lovely accessory has quickly become an indispensable piece of my daily ensemble. It goes everywhere I go when I’m on the road. It contains my carefully crafted itinerary, lists of addresses and phone numbers, daily maps of all of my stops (just in case my GPS should have a bad day), college fair and Explore Hopkins details, and flight and hotel information. Having all of this information together in one place makes it easier to see how the days flow and prevents mishaps like showing up at a school on the wrong day or arriving at the airport at 7 a.m. instead of 7 p.m. (not that these things have ever happened to admissions counselors). The Travel Binder also provides lots of opportunities for customization, as each counselor can design his or her own cover. I opted for a simply designed print-out, while Admissions_Ardi went with a hand-crafted version.
2) Send yourself a gift. Getting packages in the mail is always exciting. One of the great things about being an admissions counselor is that I get to send myself packages on the road all the time! It’s cool to walk in to a hotel and have the concierge say, “Oh, Ms. Wolf? You have a package!” and then I get to say, “Oh, really?! I do? How exciting!” They don’t have to know I sent it from the office a week ago and that it’s full of Hopkins brochures and business cards.
3) Confirm your visits. Before I left for my trip, I took some time to call each of the high schools I planned to visit one more time and confirm the date and time of my visit. It’s nice to touch base with my contacts one more time before I become less accessible and ask if there are any last minute details of which I should be aware.
4) Pack a GPS and a sense of humor. Another thing I couldn’t live without on the road? A GPS system. I tend to be a bit directionally challenged, so I was a little worried about getting from school to school on a tight schedule. But my GPS, in her very polite British accent, guided me to each destination with ease. It’s also important to take the little mishaps that occur every once in a while with a smile—or at least some yoga breathing. Missed exits, angry drivers honking, hitting every red light possible when you have to be at a school in 2 minutes… it happens. Be cool.
5) HAVE FUN! Yes, recruitment travel is work, but it’s also a lot of fun! We get to explore new places and speak with “the locals” in each region we visit. I was encouraged to ask counselors for restaurant recommendations and favorite attractions in the area to fill in the little bits of downtime I found in each day. For me, running is a big part of my routine and I love to explore each new city I visit by pounding the pavement. When I was in Charlotte, NC, I ran by the Nascar Hall of Fame!
As I continue with my fall travel in New England, I’m sure this list will expand substantially. Look out for other travel-related blogs from other counselors coming your way soon, as well as some exciting updates from the Homewood Campus!