Part of Dawn Scott’s job at Carroll is to imagine ways to maintain a steady but preferably increased enrollment from year to year. As an alumna who graduated not once but twice from the institution, she knows one of the easiest ways to help to attract the next generation of Pioneers is to simply share her own experiences as a former student at Carroll.
And she is encouraging her fellow alumni to do the same.
“We are our own ambassadors,” said Scott ’98, M.Ed. ’17, who serves as director of Financial Aid and associate vice president of enrollment at Carroll. “When you hear from an alum who literally can say, ‘I was here. I stepped in those same places,’ I think it makes all the difference. Really being able to connect with students in that way from an alumni perspective is gold.”
Scott came from a high school graduating class of 69 students to Waukesha to attend Carroll.
“It was like as if I was going to London. It was the biggest place I had been to. It was a big deal,” she said. “I did not want to come here. I was terrified but my dad brought me down here and the minute I stepped on campus, the feel of that hometown place was immediately there. When I left I couldn’t imagine going to another place. I didn’t apply anywhere else. Carroll was where I was coming. Coming and seeing and feeling made all the difference.”
She studied accounting at Carroll and said she realized in her junior year that she liked people just as much as she liked numbers. She didn’t want to focus only on accounting so the opportunity to work with families at Carroll to discuss financial aid “works great for me.”
“I get to work with numbers all day long but also help students and families to be able to afford a college education,” she said.
It is during those conversations with students and families that she shares stories of her Carroll experience. She knows the effectiveness of testimonials that she hopes other alumni will share with prospective students as well, whether that be friends and family or students they might meet as part of their professions, such as teachers, nurses, business owners, as examples.
“I truly think there’s nothing better than a testimonial, words that I’m speaking to somebody else,” she said. “Often times, I’ll have students and parents who come in and I can tell it’s a dry conversation. The minute I say, ‘You know what? I was a Carroll student.’ You can see a light sort of click on and they can envision their student here or the student can envision being here. It’s just so much different than looking at a brochure.”
Scott provided ways that alumni can help prospective students to consider Carroll:
Share stories of your Carroll experience with friends and family looking for colleges.
Wear your Carroll gear and engage in conversations about your experience when someone comments on your gear.
Refer prospective students to Carroll’s Request for Information page. This is not a commitment for a student but a first step for Carroll admissions counselors to make outreach.
Let prospective students know that as an alumnus/alumna of Carroll, once they have applied and committed, you have the benefit of contributing to their Carroll experience through an automatic $500 scholarship, renewable for four years. Learn more about the Hilger Tradition Award.
“Sharing your experience is different than just saying, ‘Oh, I graduated from Carroll’,” Scott said. “Share what it felt like when you were at Carroll. How did that experience work for you? It would mean so much to prospective students and their families.”