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How Fly-Ins Impact Diversity in the Michigan Ross BBA Program

Episode 161

August 8, 2023 36 minutes


EAB’s Jonathan April is joined by Kimberly Williams from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan to talk about creative ways to attract out-of-state students from underserved populations. Their discussion is focused primarily on the school’s use of fly-in programs and all-access weekends in which prospective students and their parents are invited (all expenses paid) to travel to the campus to explore, meet staff and students, and participate in fun group activities.

A current Michigan student joins the discussion toward the end to share his journey as an aspiring first-generation college student and the impact that the fly-in weekend had on him.



0:00:08.4 Speaker 1: Hello. And welcome to Office Hours with EAB. Today’s episode is a little different. We’ve repurposed audio from a recent EAB webinar focused on how the University of Michigan Ross School of Business uses an all expenses paid fly-in weekend to get more out-of-state students from underserved-student populations and their parents interested in the program and the school. To supplement this discussion, we’ve also taped a short interview with a current Michigan student who shares a firsthand account of his participation in one of those recent fly-in weekends. Give these folks a listen and enjoy.


0:00:53.3 Jonathan April: Thank you so much for joining us today for this brief but impactful webinar, part of our work with College Greenlight for our college partners is sharing best practices for engaging underserved students at every stage of the recruitment process. At College Greenlight, we’ve become known nationally for our list of fly-in and other visit opportunities. So, I’m especially excited that today’s webinar focuses on how institutions can help underserved students visit campus. While fly-in programs are not a new concept, there are some College Greenlight partners who have executed them incredibly well, including University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. In this webinar, you will learn how the Ross School uniquely structures its program eligibility and applicant evaluation to support larger enrollment goals. Spoiler alerts, they invite juniors and their parents and guardians, how they collaborate with campus stakeholders, who support the team’s diversity efforts and how they leverage College Greenlight CBO Network to build affinity with future applicants.

0:01:54.7 JA: Before we dive in, some quick housekeeping items, please place any comments or questions in the Q&A box. If we aren’t able to get to your question during the Q&A section, a member of our team will follow up afterwards. At the end of the webinar, you’ll get a brief exit survey and we’d love to get your feedback. I’m Jonathan April, Managing Director of College Greenlight. I oversee our efforts, and I’ve been with Greenlight since we launched in 2012. College Greenlight has worked to foster a nationwide network of advocates focused on improving outcomes for underserved students. At Greenlight, we work with two big communities, the Nationwide College Access Community, and Higher Education and Work to bridge these two communities together.

0:02:41.2 JA: We support 1500-plus organizations focused on increasing college access and success for underserved students and partner with 400 college universities to help them connect with students, build, recruitment pipelines with CBOs, and help those institutions to promote their diversity initiatives to the Nationwide College Access Community. Now, I’d like to bring on our special guest to the screen, to begin our conversation about bringing underserved students to campus. Kim, would you please introduce yourself and tell everyone a little bit about your role at Michigan Ross.

0:03:16.5 Kim Williams: Absolutely. Thank you, Jonathan, it is a pleasure to be here and joined with you all today to talk about our program, the Michigan Ross All-Access Weekend. Again, my name is Kim Williams and I serve as our assistant director for our Transfer and Outreach Initiatives. Within my role, I manage diversity recruitment and initiatives by building and maintaining relationships with prospective students and families from underrepresented populations and organizations to serve them. This type of work is important, because it really allows us to truly connect with not only the students but their families, when they are making a decision as to where they want to attend college. So, with that is our All-Access Weekend Fly-in program. This is extremely important to our enrollment, as I talk about throughout this webinar.

0:04:04.8 KW: But it really is transparent and it really helps students really see themselves here within the University of Michigan Ross School of Business. Within the All-Access Weekend, it is a fly-in program, all expense paid, so we pay for not only the student participant, but we also fly-in two family members to be flown in all at our expense for them to experience the weekend. Throughout this weekend, they are exposed to various workshops and activities to really learn about our action-based curriculum, connect with that mission staff to learn about our requirements to apply to the Ross School of Business and the University of Michigan, as well as connect with cultural future peers, BBA Ross students. So I’m excited to talk about, All-Access more in depth and answer any questions. So, hopefully we’re able to better serve you all if you’re looking to bring a fly-in program to your campus.

0:05:00.4 JA: Thank you, Kim, and it’s really amazing to have you here.

0:05:04.4 KW: Thank you.

0:05:05.5 JA: Yeah, I’m really excited to dive into the work that you’re doing. Before that, we prepared, we have a survey for you all. We’d love to learn about what kinds of outreach or diversity-focused visit programs that your school offers, please select all that apply, you can select more than one. Do you offer an all expense paid overnight fly-in program like Michigan Ross, a partial-day open house, online affinity groups or virtual programming, the travel reimbursements, or something else? We’ll give a couple more seconds to get end of the results and then I will… So I guess we can end the poll, but it looks like I’m going to share, too. Oh, thank you for sharing, looks like several are offering all-expense-paid fly-in programs like Michigan Ross, others are offering more just it’s like a day, a full or partial day.

0:06:17.1 JA: Be really interesting to see the various results, thank you for everyone for sharing. I’m going to now go into our kind of like the bread and butter of our conversation. I’d love to learn… I’m going to talk more to Kim about the work that they are doing at Michigan Ross, and we love at the end of these questions for you to ask us questions, you’ll ask Kim questions. So Kim, first question, I guess pretty obvious one. How and why did the All-Access Weekend get started?

0:06:48.7 KW: Yes, absolutely. Great question. So with the All-Access Weekend, it really got started, so that way we can increase the diversity of underrepresented students here within the University of Michigan and Ross School of Business. We really started this program so that students could envision themselves here and know that the University of Michigan and Ross School of Business is in touch. They can come and experience it and really see themselves on campus. So we really focused in and honed in on starting this to give that experience to make that connection with students and families within the Ross School of Business.

0:07:24.5 JA: How has the program changed over the years, especially with the impact of the pandemic?

0:07:30.3 KW: Absolutely. So over the years, it has changed. One big change that we have seen is the increase in our application volume, and this is really through connection with our partners such as the Greenlight Partnership that we have, because it allows us to do more information sessions on what All-Access Weekend is about and connect with our various CBO partners who allow us to connect with their scholars. So it really helps us really connect and get the word out there about the All-Access Weekend.

0:08:00.9 KW: Ultimately, it encouraged students to apply through these avenues. And then during the pandemic, we were able to actually take our All-Access Weekend virtual, which allowed us to invite so many more participants, and they still got to have the same experience, got to hear from a faculty member, connect with our student ambassadors, learn about the application process, talk to our admissions staff, they still got that full experience, although we’re not able to physically be connected with one another in the same on campus or fly them in to Ross.

0:08:33.3 JA: Since the pandemic, I guess sort of hopefully has ended.

0:08:36.0 KW: Yes.

0:08:40.6 JA: How has that changed going forward?

0:08:40.9 KW: Absolutely. So I think our application volume is still increased, it is high. We still have tons of interest through the All-Access Weekend. One of the things I’ll talk about more throughout this webinar is starting with juniors and really inviting juniors is word of mouth, we know that when they go back to their high schools, and they talk about the experience that they had, that is connecting with another peer, so our application volume and our interest in All-Access is steadily increasing, it’s a phenomenal program. Like I said, we not only invite student participants, but we fly in… We have family members, we fly them in on a Thursday evening all the way to a Saturday afternoon, and they’re on campus with us the entire time. We pay for food, we pay for their transportation from the airport to the airport, so we make sure that they have the really all encompassed, “red carpet experience”, if you say so to speak, of what the Ross School of Business and the University of Michigan has to offer.

0:09:42.9 JA: You mentioned flying in parents and guardians, how did you decide to do that?

0:09:47.8 KW: Well, we believe that with our All-Access Weekend or a college search in general, it is a family affair, if the families can come and see as well, especially for these populations of underrepresented families or students on campuses, that they are able to truly see the value of their child being… For example, the University of Michigan has a lot of institutions, so they’re able to see how connected we are, how we support students. So we fly them in so it can be an all experience, not just a student experience, but the families can also feel and learn and ask any questions they have. We have our financial aid partners that come and talk to parents as well. We also do presentations for parents, so that way they can learn about the college transition process for their students. So we really make sure that not only are we thinking of the student experience, but the family members also have that experience as well.

0:10:45.0 JA: In addition to the parents you talked about, most programs are focused on seniors.

0:10:51.0 KW: Yes.

0:10:52.0 JA: Why do you include juniors in the process as well?

0:10:56.3 KW: Absolutely. Great question. So we decided to invite rising juniors, because really most students really start their college admissions process in their junior year, and if we invite them to a program like All-Access Weekend, then we can start to provide that support for junior and senior year, which will ultimately encourage them to apply to the University of Michigan and Ross School of Business and ultimately enroll at the Ross School of Business, so it really helps with building that relationship early, and that way we can be their support system to answer any questions regarding the application process.

0:11:34.8 KW: Maybe they want to take another campus tour, or maybe they just want to know what the college transition is like, we are there to help and support. And also with our CBOs, we build those strong relationships with them. So we are able to connect with the scholars, get connected, answer any questions they have, whether that’s virtually, email, really building that relationship early on. It really helps set the tone for students to apply to the Ross School of Business and ultimately enroll. We see it as a whole recipient support, I guess you could say. So we start early on so that way we can support them throughout their duration as they are hitting that submit button for their application.

0:12:17.9 JA: Yeah, your program is definitely unique from many programs in those respects.

0:12:24.3 KW: Absolutely. So, Jonathan, I actually have a question for you. You mentioned how unique our program is compared to some of the other fly-in programs on the list that your team creates. I mean, could you tell me more, like what makes ours different? Can you talk about that a little bit?

0:12:42.6 JA: Totally. Yeah, I would be thrilled to do that. Just as a plug, people know College Greenlight for our fly-in program. We will share a link to that resource at the end of the broadcast. Definitely, if you’d like to have your program, if you’re not in there, you would like to be in there, please reach out to me. Yeah, Kim, as you… The program at Ross is definitely unique, if you look at our fly-in program list, most institutions on that list are private institutions. Michigan as a state flagship is definitely one of the fewer public institutions that’s on that list, especially offering opportunities to students outside of your state is pretty unique, definitely including juniors and their parents and guardians makes it unique, and then the fact that you’re part of a business school also is another unique element. So, yeah, overall lots of unique things that you’re doing at Ross.

0:13:33.6 KW: Thank you.

0:13:34.2 JA: I want to talk a bit about the application and how you get the word out for that, you typically launch the application from March until June, is that right?

0:13:46.6 KW: That is correct, yes, it’s currently open. So if you have any scholars, please feel free to have them apply, if it’s of interest to them.

0:13:55.4 JA: I guess it is why that window for your application?

0:14:00.0 KW: Absolutely. So we have an application in March, because we do require a letter of recommendation, so this truly allows applicants to seek that letter of recommendation from either a teacher or a counselor, so if they choose to do so. And the timing of application, it was actually coordinated with high school, high school teachers and school counselors, they suggested that we do the spring instead of the fall for this fly-in program application, because it can be quite busy in the fall season for students, so that if they’re trying to schedule college visits and those sorts of things, we were able to encompass kind of working with our partners and to kind of figure out what was the best timing for this fly-in program. Plus we don’t want to open the application in the summer, because most high schools are out of session, so it make it really challenging for these students to get a letter of recommendation once high schools are out of session or out of school for the summer.

0:14:57.0 JA: Okay, so you see almost all of your students apply before the end of that school year?

0:15:02.3 KW: We do, yeah. And it really is really helpful because they’re like, “Oh, I needed a recommendation,” so they’re able to connect with a school counselor, teacher, a coach, anyone that can really speak to them for their recommendation.

0:15:15.0 JA: Michigan Ross has been a partner of College Green Lights for many years, how do you leverage our CBO community to help you get the word out?

0:15:23.9 KW: Absolutely. So we leverage them by doing webinars with you all, newsletters, really connecting in with the CBOs. I’ve had some CBOs through this partnership reach out to me to be able to do sessions with their scholars to talk to them about it. So having this partnership with Greenlight really has opened doors for our All-Access Weekend, because we really hone in on connecting with the CBOs to connect with their scholars.

0:15:50.5 JA: How else do you get the word out about the program?

0:15:53.2 KW: So we also do in-house emails. So I send… I usually let students know from lists that we receive of interest of our students that application was live as well. So we send out emails, I do information sessions, I taught… We have a website so we have Michigan Ross All-Access Weekend website, and we also work with our campus partners on campus to post on their websites as well. So a lot of publications as to where they can access the application. They can email me directly or our team, we’re always open to make sure that we are talking about our fly-in program and encourages students to apply.

0:16:36.5 JA: After the All-Access Weekend, how does your team, how do you interact with the students that attended the program?

0:16:45.3 KW: Yeah, great question. So after our All-Access Weekend, we stay in touch by emails, communications, our student ambassadors do outreach, so we have student ambassadors, BBA student ambassadors that help with this program, because you know who best to tell what the experience is like inside of the Ross School of Business than students themselves. So they do outreach, we have done mentorship sessions where students, the participants, can sign up and attend these programs or attend a mentor session to further ask questions maybe about the application process or what student life’s like if they come to the… If they are admitted and decide to commit to the Ross School of Business, “What is it like?” So we really try to hone in on staying connected to our students as well after the program.

0:17:37.2 JA: Okay. I assume you get a lot more applicants than you have spots.

0:17:42.7 KW: Yes.

0:17:45.6 JA: For students that do not get into the program, is there a certain way that you interact with those students?

0:17:49.1 KW: Yeah so if students are not admitted to the weekend and we still send them emails and things to encourage them to either connect with our office, if they have questions, we’re here to serve as a resource. But as many institutions, we only have such an allotted space that we can invite based off of travel needs and space and catering, all the things that go into our fly-in program. We only have a certain number of students that we can invite plus participants. So we have to be mindful, [0:18:26.5] ____ unfortunately, we’re not able to invite everyone to this weekend, but we do still try to stay connected to those students.

0:18:34.1 JA: Okay. In terms of, I guess at the end of the program, how do you evaluate the success of the All-Access Weekend?

0:18:43.8 KW: Yeah, great question. So with the success of the All-Access Weekend, truly it starts with when they’re applying to University of Michigan and the Ross School of Business. Typically after this program, students are ready to apply and they’re like, “Oh, yes, I’m going to… I have a few more questions, but if you can answer my question.” So that’s really where it starts, is through this weekend. And then ultimately we’re hoping that they’re coming to the Ross School of Business and that that showcases a success throughout it, but truly making that difference for a student that may have never flown on a plane before, or may have never even thought that they would come to step foot at the University of Michigan, let alone the Ross School of Business. That is success for me because these students are have really being been able to see that there’s more, their interest and being able to connect with those students and those individuals.

0:19:43.5 JA: The All-Access Weekend is just one of many outreach programs that you have.

0:19:49.3 KW: Yes.

0:19:50.3 JA: Can you tell us about other pre-college programs that you offer at Ross?

0:19:54.1 KW: Absolutely. So within the All-Access Weekend we have different programs. So All-Access Weekend is targeted towards out-of-state students, ’cause it is a fly-in program. However, for our in-state students, some of our outreach programs, we do also host different type of programs, where they can come to campus, ’cause they are a lot closer. So we do have different outreach programs for our different magnitudes or populations of students that are able to still experience it. They just may not come… It may not be a fly-in program, but they can still come to campus and experience and [0:20:30.5] ____ connect with our students, connect with faculty and admission staff, just not… Because all access is geared towards out-of-state students.

0:20:38.8 JA: Okay. I’m seeing a few questions that are coming into the Q&A. Please if you have questions, please let us know. There was a question about the application itself. Could you talk a bit about the application for the program and how you utilize that? And also how that might differ from your overall application for enrollments?

0:21:08.3 KW: Yeah, absolutely. First, actually we are a two-tier admissions process within the Ross School of Business, so our focus is to make sure that students not only understand how to better their application, connecting with our campus partners to understand to better the application for the University of Michigan and the Ross School of Business. So for that, when we’re looking at applications, we do have some parameters that we set. We don’t actually have like a minimum GPA, but we do give priority to students that may have 4.5 or higher.

0:21:40.1 KW: Because we’re trying to help set them… Because we’re a two-tier admissions process, we do try to help set them up for success for the University of Michigan as well. We look at if they have interest in business, some do, some don’t as well. And that’s okay, but maybe they’re talking about they have a little interest in business, they want to know more about that. So that is how we kinda do metrics amongst a number of other things that we look at in terms of selection for who will attend the weekend.

0:22:12.8 JA: Okay. I think you talked a bit about how many spots there are, but I guess how many students can you accommodate? How many guests can you accommodate and how did you determine that level?

0:22:21.8 KW: Yes. So this past All-Access Weekend, we did about, I want to say, 90 students or 90 guests total. Each student is allowed to bring up to two parent or guardians. We also had siblings. So I will say that although we encourage a parent or guardian, sometimes with these populations you may need to… There may be a sibling that needs to come instead. So you really, with the outreach efforts that you do, you really do want to connect with these students to see, “Is that the only barrier that’s stopping them from attending this program? And how can you work with them?” So it truly depends on that, but typically that’s what we aim for.

0:23:04.2 KW: So we do about 30 students is what I kind of look for. We are always growing, I think that we’re always looking to grow, but when we’re thinking about the number of students that we can accommodate, we also think about space. So also, our hotel, ’cause we do put them in a hotel, we pay for the hotel rooms as well. So we think about, “Is that an opportunity? For how many rooms can we accommodate from the hotel? Is the space looking right for Ross?” So those are factors that go into that. And it also truly depends on our application volume and what we can look to accommodate year to year. So we look at year to year, honestly.

0:23:46.5 JA: Okay. Some planned programs are hosted in the spring, some planned programs are hosted in the summer, some planned programs are hosted in the fall. How did you decide that the fall was the right time to host the program?

0:24:00.7 KW: Because of the application, so the fall is a great time to host it, because we hosted this, we hosted typically in September. And it allows students to be able to ask any application questions that they may have in preparation and hopes that they will apply by the November 1st deadline. And then they’re able to get all the rest of their questions answered. So it really aligns with when most applications colleges are being able to be submitted and University of Michigan, which is November 1, is when submission of application, that we encourage students to submit their application.

0:24:35.1 JA: For those on the webinar that don’t host a program, what are the things that they should know what campus partners should be involved in the process? What are the key things for a new program to think about?

0:24:49.3 KW: Yeah, so I think you want to think about your target audience, which is the underrepresented, student population that you’re targeting. You also want to think about what’s most important that they want to know. Finance is a big question, or it’s a big factor for students. So you want to think about [0:25:08.6] ____ affordances or finances, so maybe having someone from financial aid. They want to hear from an instructor learn, so bring in an instructor given they’re present that they can probably learn about a course that is taken within your institution, that may resonate with them.

0:25:28.4 KW: Connecting with your students, I think making sure, if you all have some type of ambassador program, making sure that you can have them present there within your weekend. And then just making sure that there are activities for them to do. Icebreakers, tours, I think tours are extremely important, because they’re able to see throughout the weekend what campus life is completely about. Advising… So I really connect with a lot of campus partners to see… Support systems, I think, our academic success team, how could they get a math tutor, if that’s what they need or a writing help. So you really want to connect with all the different resources and support systems to help these students.

0:26:13.4 JA: Okay. Any kind of last I know this is a super short webinar and, well, if there are other questions that we will try to follow up afterwards. Any kind of last guidance that you would want to give anybody on this call, Kim?

0:26:28.4 KW: Yeah, absolutely. So I think that when you’re thinking about doing a fly-in program, whether you have one and you’re like, “How do I improve it?” Or you’re thinking about creating one, just thinking about next steps. I always think that having scholarships is really a good component for these applicants and students. We do something called the Ross Preview Weekend for admitted students, which is very similar to our All-Access Weekend on building community, building relationships, team building, but it’s focused on the admitted-student side where they can connect with our centers and institutes. And we really… That scholarships is a big component for students, so really trying to work with your scholarship team to see if that’s something… Our Ross Preview does yield about 70% and it is really likely driven to our scholarship component, which can almost similar scholarships can cover full tuition at the university. So it really depends on… So I really do say start that work early because it took a… We worked with our scholarships to kind of help that because that can be the barrier for students. They can love your fly-in program, but honestly that could truly be the barrier is the financial component for students.

0:27:43.1 JA: Okay. Kim, thank you so much for being an expert on All-Access Weekend and fly-in programs in general. Yeah, it’s been amazing to be here with you today. If anybody has questions about anything, you can always reach out to me at [email protected]. Thank you always for being a partner of College Greenlights and thank you so much for being here with us. Thank you.

0:28:03.4 JA: Hi, again. As you’ve heard in this episode’s conversation with Kim Williams from the University of Michigan, the Ross School of Business Undergraduate program works to develop strong pipelines of highly-motivated students from all backgrounds to come to Michigan. We mostly talked about the All-Access Weekend, a fly-in event for prospective students and their families, to learn more about life at the University of Michigan. But our team also hosts the similar recruitment events for admitted students who are still to enroll. I’m super excited today to be joined on the podcast by a student who can give you a firsthand accounts of his experience during a similar program for admitted students. Mr. Marvin Tettteh, now a rising sophomore. Marvin, welcome.

0:28:46.6 Marvin Tetteh: Hi, Jonathan. Thanks for having me.

0:28:49.1 JA: How did you first hear about the Preview Weekend and what led you to sign up?

0:28:53.8 MT: So I originally got an email from the undergraduate admissions office, explaining “We have this fly-in weekend,” such and such. I kind of just skimmed over it and didn’t really pay it any mind, because it just sounded too good to be true, “They’re going to fly me and my family out, they’re going to put us in a hotel and put us through programming for three days.” And I was just, “Why me? This doesn’t make sense.” So I just kind of ignored it. And then on the last day to sign up, I was at work, I work at a grocery store, so I was bagging groceries and I received a phone call and it was just a random number. I didn’t have the number saved and usually I don’t pick up, but that day I was just, “Maybe it’s important, you never know.”

0:29:31.5 MT: So I picked up and I went out… I told my coworker, “Oh, I’m going to go outside, take this phone call real quick.” And it was Kim and she was, “Oh, I noticed you didn’t sign up. This is our last day to sign up for this program.” And she explained the whole thing to me and after she explained it I was kind of, “Oh, it’s real.” [chuckle] I just was going many thoughts in my head. And then I finished my shift and I went back home and I talked to my mom, “Oh, this woman called me and she was explaining, they’re going to fly us out, they’re going to pay for a hotel, they’re going to pay for our plane ticket.” And my mom was just like… She also was like, “That kind of sounds too good to be true.” But then at the end of the day she was, “You might as well just take it, it’s a free trip.” And I was, “Okay.” So I ended up signing up and Kim’s really what led me to go.

0:30:10.6 JA: Oh, that’s an amazing story. Tell us about your experience for the weekend and what you took away from it.

0:30:18.4 MT: I had a great experience from the weekend on both sides, socially and just Michigan, everything that it had to offer. ‘Cause I came in not knowing anything about the school, so I was pretty blind coming in, and we went through so much programming that weekend that was so helpful. We met with the Sanger Leadership Center. We met with people from CDO that talked to us about the resources that Ross can offer to us as students. We had a banquet. I heard Professor Cheri Alexander speak. And just those experiences… She used to work at GM. So knowing, “Oh, they have staff and faculty and professors, who have real-world experience. They have the CDO office that’s here to help me with my resume and do resume workshops, like help me.

0:31:01.4 MT: ‘Cause I had come from a background, my parents didn’t go to college, so this whole business thing is very new to me. So hearing that they had all these resources that could help me, if I was struggling or if I just didn’t know what way to go, they would point me in the right direction. And then on the other hand, we had a cohort of about, I would say, it was 30 students, so meeting with other students who were in the same position as me kind of helped. ‘Cause I was just, “Okay, everybody’s going through the same thing, and we’re all dealing with this together.” So I met some of my best friends that I’m living with currently this year through this program. And so both sides really were convincing me to join, the resources but also the social aspect of the people around me.

0:31:38.3 JA: Wow, that sounds like you had an amazing experience. You mentioned, talking about this with your mom. Did your family fly to Michigan with you? And to what extent did their impressions and their opinions of your college search factor into your overall decision?

0:31:55.5 MT: Yeah, my mom flew in with me, so it was just me and her. And she was also… She had the same thing as me, she was kind of blind, too. I had originally applied to Michigan, ’cause my sister was going to grad school here, well, in Michigan, but I didn’t really know much about it. And she… I don’t even think I told her I applied, I just applied to the school. So once we got there, that was her first time being in Michigan, it was my first time being in Michigan. And we both didn’t really have expectations, but she was just as blown away as I was. And I remember telling her at the end of the weekend, “Mom, if I come here, I’m going to be rich, that’s just how it’s going to work.” And she at the end of the weekend, she agreed with me. She went from wanting me to focus on a different school. I had a couple other options. She wanted me to go to school near my brother, so she was thinking about that also. And then she completely changed… And no mom wants to sent their kid 10 hours away from home, we’re from New York, so that was a big barrier. But the fact that that weekend had changed her mind, solidified in my mind, “My mom wouldn’t just make a random decision, they must have convinced her, too.”

0:32:57.1 JA: That’s awesome. After you decided on Michigan, what were your first days on campus like? What advice would you give to other students or school administrators to help students find their place or feel they belong when they arrive on campus for the first time in the fall?

0:33:15.3 MT: My first days on campus, I would say were a little overwhelming, just because I’ve never been in a space with this many students. Michigan is a very big school, and I live outside of New York City, so I go to a relatively small school compared to Michigan. And one of the things that I feel like would help students the most is if administrators let them know to embrace the unknown, embrace the unexpected. ‘Cause being in that scenario, in that position where I don’t know anybody here, I don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow was overwhelming. But at the same time it was exciting, because it opened me up to so many new opportunities. So just being able to go with the flow and just do whatever comes up really helped me. ‘Cause I joined clubs that I didn’t think I was interested in. I participated in discussions that I never thought I would have. So being open to those things allowed me to meet new people, but also it changed who I am as a person. ‘Cause then I realized, “You might come in with a plan to do something, but just ’cause it doesn’t go that way, it doesn’t mean that it’s not going to all work out in the end.”

0:34:22.3 JA: Before we go, could I ask you for one piece of last advice for other students who might be considering a fly-in program or more generally for any student who is considering taking a look at a school that might not have initially been on their college search radar?

0:34:37.2 MT: I would say for that, be open to anything, just I said in the response before, just be open to learning new things. Be open to hearing about a school that maybe wasn’t on your radar or maybe you just applied to, because it was considered a safety on your list. Be open to everything because I had no intention of Michigan, because I never really took the time to learn about it. But going there just completely blew my mind. I was open to all these different factors that were, “I had no idea.” Some of them you might’ve not even been able to research until you were in that position. Especially with visiting a school, you’re able to see yourself in that school. You’re able to picture how your next four years are going to go. So be open to seeing yourself there. Be open to visiting and trying to picture yourself as a potential student of wherever you’re visiting.

0:35:28.8 JA: Marvin, thank you so much for sharing so much about your experience of the Preview Weekends and how fly-in programs impacted your college journey. We really appreciate it. Thank you.

0:35:38.8 MT: No problem. Thank you for having me.


0:35:47.0 S1: Thank you for listening. Please join us next week when we check in with the college in Long Beach, California to hear how they’re using their student success platform to support equity initiatives. Until next week, thank you for your time.