High school counselors participate in fly-in program

Jordan Cone

On April 10 and 11, twenty-seven high school counselors participated in Augustana’s formal counselor fly-in program, and a group of five high school counselors visited this past Thursday and Friday.
The counselor fly-in program is one in which Augustana College typically partners with two other institutions to bring in counselors outside of immediate states surrounding Illinois to visit campus.
According to Mike Pettis, Associate Director of Admissions and Intercollegiate Athletics, “The motto for the event – that we’ve had since its inception – is influencing the influencers. High school and college counselors are typically the first line of defense for high school students, so we want to encourage them to have a perspective of Augustana and show them who we are so they can share that information with their students. We’ve found it most beneficial to partner with other institutions that are, at least somewhat comparable, that other schools might recognize maybe even more so than Augie.”
Through this program, Augustana has hosted counselors from California, Texas, Colorado, New York, Connecticut, Missouri, Florida, and Washington.
This year, Augustana worked with DePaul University and Bradley University. Together, they advertised to counselors nation-wide who then had the option to sign up to be a part of the fly-in program.
According to Karen Dahlstrom, Executive Director of Admissions, the program is designed to build relationships and outreach markets for the college. She says, “A big part of any experience like this is what we call our experiential tour. Because these are counselors that are pretty savvy about the college process – they’ve been on a lot of campuses – just walking them around on a traditional tour, it’s hard to distinguish your institution from somewhere else. So, our goal is to have stops along the way where they actually meet faculty members in some of our academic programs to be able to hear things that maybe distinguish Augustana’s programs from other colleges and universities.”
As well as visiting departments that separate Augustana from other institutions, high school counselors also get to learn about Augustana’s music and athletics programs.
Though this past week, the counselors who visited campus were not necessarily apart of this formal fly-in program, they also got to share a similar experience, just somewhat condensed.
According to Dahlstrom, Kent Barnds, the Executive Vice President of External Relations, used to “work at a small private college in Pennsylvania — and the same thing goes for the Vice President of Enrollment at Millikin University. So, this group of counselors are actually colleagues that they worked with even like twenty-five years ago. And so it really is a group of folks that our leadership has a strong relationship with.”
“It makes us proud when you have people come here who know a lot about colleges across the country, and they leave with nuggets of information that they think ‘this really sets Augustana apart’ or ‘gosh this campus is really more focused on this piece of the experience,’ and so I think we can be very proud to work in an institution that counselors see could be a great fit for their students,” Dahlstrom said.