To many, touring a school is an important step in deciding whether to attend a college or university. Cardinal Blazers provide this service at William Jewell College (WJC).
Cardinal Blazers provide daily campus tours to guests, engage families in coffee conversations and assist with special events held by the Office of Admission. Their duties also include answering the questions of parents and potential students, referring questions to appropriate departments or individuals and ensuring the accuracy of information given.
Karoline Wiens, sophomore business administration and ACT-In major, is one of the Cardinal Blazers’ student leaders.
“My favorite part about being a Cardinal Blazer is seeing the students that I gave tours to attend the College. One of my mentees was a prospective student that I gave a tour to, who became my mentee in the fall of 2015 and then became my sorority sister this spring. It is instances like these that give me reason to love my position as a Cardinal Blazer,” said Wiens.
The mission of the program is as follows:
It is the mission of the Cardinal Blazer program to introduce new and prospective students and their families to the merits of William Jewell College with the highest levels of enthusiasm and integrity. In addition, Cardinal Blazers seek to present the quality of teaching, learning, and scholarship experiences available to our students, demonstrating William Jewell College’s commitment to cultivating leadership, service, and spiritual growth.
Some Blazers shared their favorite aspects of the job.
“Sometimes you can tell when a parent or student is nervous about college or the sticker price of Jewell. We do our best to ease their nerves about letting their first child go or easing their concerns about the community bathrooms or living on campus all four years. My job is all about helping the parent and student be comfortable enough to see themselves on campus because that’s ultimately the easiest way to commit to a place,” said Shelby Ridenhour, senior psychology, recreation and sport and ACT-In major.
”I decided to become a blazer because I love meeting new people. I also remember my tour senior year and how much I enjoyed being able to interact with a student and learn what the campus was like from someone who spends as much time there as I would be spending,” said second year Blazer Charlotte Burns, sophomore biology major.
“As an underclassman, I really loved Jewell and wanted to share my experience with other visiting students. I thought, especially since I had just come from their position that I could help them make a decision that I had already made. I wanted to help people and also promote a college full of programs that I loved,” said Simone Stewart, senior physics and Spanish major.
In order to qualify to be a Blazer, a student must have completed at least one semester at Jewell and must carry a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5. In addition, qualified applicants should be well-rounded and able to speak about their experiences in multiple areas of campus life. Successful Blazers tend to be effective and confident communicators, have great time management and team working skills and adequately represent the College in a positive and enthusiastic manner. A broad base of campus knowledge and involvement with various campus services and resources is also helpful.
Applications are typically made available in mid to late October. Interviews and placement offers are made before winter break, and training begins at the end of January. Although there is a hard deadline around the end of November, applications are accepted on a rolling basis from anyone who is interested in becoming a Cardinal Blazer. If interested, contact Daniel Ramirez at (816) 415-7507 or firstname.lastname@example.org or a Cardinal Blazer Student Leader, Shelby Ridenhour or Karoline Wiens.
The training process consists of three different sessions. The first session is an introductory portion in which the trainees learn about the Admissions Department, the goals of the Cardinal Blazers and the technicalities of the tours. The new Blazers will be taken on a tour lead by Wiens, Ridenhour or both.
The second session of the three-part training is a 45-minute mock-tour with Ramirez. This allows the future Blazers to practice a timed tour. He acts as the potential student while making notes for improvement on each of the trainees’ tours. This portion happens in small groups of about six trainees and is called the “Check-Off Tour.”
The last portion of the training is the cleaning session. It serves to ensure that the trainees are comfortable with public speaking, understand the correct details and information to give during tours and have some practice with parent coffee conversation. The parent coffee practice is facilitated by active Blazers.
Blazers also help with Journey to Jewell, a recruitment event that takes place in late spring and early fall. This event is designed to fit the needs of three different groups of students: high school seniors who are in the last stages of making their college choice; transfer students who are also in the decision stage; and high school juniors who are getting a head start on their college search. Blazers work in various positions throughout the event including giving campus tours and sharing their stories as a students at the College.
Blazers also help with spring events for seniors. These events include Senior Showcase, Scholar Recognition Day and Spring Preview Day. During these events, Blazers give campus tours, sit on student Q&A panels and help as “runners” who guide guests around campus in between info sessions or from the parking lot to the event check-in location.
Families can register for an individual visit, group visit or event online at jewell.edu/visit. They can also contact the Office of Admissions directly.
Photos by Chandler Eaton.