Think your life at Bates is busy? Prologue, the program that the Office of Admissions markets as “three days to enjoy a slice of what Bates College has to offer,” is just as packed and whirlwind-busy.
The prospective students in Prologue attend classes, meet with professors, stay with current students, have interviews with Admissions officers, take a tour of the Bates campus, attend an information session, and attend cultural, athletic and co-curricular events. The plethora of activities seeks to help students feel welcome at Bates, and this year it was certainly successful.
Prologue is an Admissions open house program designed for first-generation college students and students of color. This year, the Prologue coordinators worked diligently to make the October program engaging for prospective students, and they now look forward to doing it all again during Prologue II, which will take place November 10th-12th. The two sessions do not differ in how they are organized or run, but Prologue II always has significantly more students. All prospective students in Prologue must submit an application involving multiple short-answer questions and an essay. One essay option requires that applicants discuss their relation to their ethnic background or another aspect of their identity, while the other option asks what they hope to gain from attending Prologue.
Student Diversity Outreach Coordinators (DOCs) work throughout the year to communicate with prospective Prologue students. Once these students arrive, these workers continue to foster their interest in Bates, or at least schools like Bates.
One of these coordinators, Gabrielle Concepcion, explains, “
As DOCs, we recruit Bates students to host Prologue students. We also spend a lot of time interacting with the Prologue students, whether that is by calling them or their parents before they arrive on campus, sitting with them at the Prologue dinner, or encouraging them to perform at the Prologue talent show.”
Concepcion also acknowledges how much of a difference this program can make for the prospective students. “The initial interaction supplemented by a warm smile helps these students ease into campus [life], and the conversations that follow serve to spark their interest in Bates.”
Prologue is incredibly important to students in its targeted demographic because it helps them to prepare themselves better for, and get excited about, the college experience. Seeing the lively Bates campus emerge from the flat pages of a college pamphlet is exciting. All the promises printed in bold next to an iconic liberal arts picture (of a twenty-year old laying on the foliage strewn quad and reading a book at sunset) really do exist, and these students get to see that through Prologue.
Concepcion believes that Prologue “does a great job with getting high school students acquainted with liberal arts colleges. Sometimes students will arrive without knowing what to expect. Prologue provides these students with a glimpse of what college life is like, while letting them know that they are welcomed here at Bates.”
Junior Michelle Pham, another DOC, adds, “Being on campus and seeing descriptions of Bates get colored in in real life is instrumentally important. A lot of current Batesies decided to come to Bates after a campus tour. The principle is the same with Prologue–we fly students in to let them experience Bates.”
Even though Prologue I was an immense success, coordinators are looking ahead to Prologue II and how they can improve the program in years to come. Right now, their main goal is to recruit as many students as possible to host prospective students.
Pham emphasizes, “We’re hoping to reach eighty hosts by November 1st, so if any Batesies are looking to contribute back to the community, hosting a prospective student would be an excellent way.”
Pham also shared how exciting it can be to see how this simple act of hospitality can go a long way. “During my freshman year, my roommate and I must have hosted over twelve prospective students throughout the year. It’s quite the feeling when one year later, you see your student walking on campus, eating at Commons, and living as a Batesie.”
The process for signing up to host a student is simple: visit Garnet Gateway, click on the tab “Events,” and click again on “Admission Hosting Prologue 2013.” It’s incredibly easy, and Bates students should take the two minutes to share Bates with deserving prospective students.
While raising student awareness is the primary goal for DOCs, Concepcion has ideas for extending the mentorship associated with Prologue into students’ freshman years.
“In the long run, it would also be nice to set up some kind of ‘mentoring’ relationship [so] the enrolled Prologue students will know that if they ever need any advice or support, the DOCs are more than happy to work with them, and that that interaction doesn’t have to end once Prologue is over.”
What already makes Prologue special as an admissions program, however, is its goal to broaden the identity of the Bates student body.