William Jewell College’s students come from many parts of the nation and the world. To recruit students with academic, musical and athletic talent, Jewell professors, coaches, and faculty use the college’s resources and well as Jewell’s academic programs to draw students to the College.
The recruitment process varies for the athletic and music departments and the Oxbridge Honors Program.
The Oxbridge Program at William Jewell offers students the opportunity to study abroad at Oxford. Oxbridge offers majors with tutorial-based curriculum. The majors offered are history of ideas, molecular biology, literature and theory, history, institutions and policy and music.
Jewell starts recruiting for Oxbridge during students’ sophomore and junior years of high school by hosting receptions for high achieving students to learn more and talk to students in the program. Lydia Bunch, a Jewell admissions counselor, recruits potential Oxbridge students.
Like other college honors programs, Oxbridge looks at ACT scores and class ranking. During the recruitment process, communication with prospective students is key. Dr. Kenneth Alpern, senior Oxbridge tutor, says that the program prides itself on their personal dedication to students.
“[A potential Oxbridge student] is someone who is really going to work hard and has the potential to love what they are doing,” Alpern said.
Oxbridge recruits are interviewed by Oxbridge tutors, who are faculty members specific to the program, as part of the application process to see how they would handle the stress of tutorials, which differs from the traditional classroom setting.
“We look back over years and years of doing this and say, ‘How valuable is the interview?’ and we found that a lot tracks well there. We are not looking for factual knowledge; fundamentally it’s to see how your mind works,” Alpern said.
The tutors dedicate a lot of time to the interview process because every session lasts 45 minutes to one hour. This year there will be around 50 applicants for the Oxbridge program.
Alyssa Young, first-year, is an Oxbridge molecular biology major.
“The interview process was intense, but it prepared me a great deal for the first semester of Oxbridge,” Young said.
To be accepted into Oxford, students must maintain at least a 3.7 GPA at Jewell. The program is looking to expand to other junior year options besides Oxford to enhance the program and offer more possibilities to students who fall short of the 3.7 GPA. For example, more opportunities are opening up for internships in Washington, D.C. for institutions and policy majors.
“If you have the work ethic and you really start to love what you are doing – that works,” Alpern said.
The Jewell Music Department begins recruiting students while they are in high school.
Jewell music professors run clinics for high school bands and go to individual choral, band and orchestra classes in the Kansas City metropolitan area high schools to check on developing talent and entice students to join the music program.
To recruit music students, Jewell music instructors maintain connections with these high school teachers so interested students can be in contact with Jewell professors.
“It is also helpful that some Jewell alumni are music teachers in the Kansas City area,” said Anne Aunspaugh, an administrative associate for the department of music.
This was also true for Crista Pinkston, first-year and member of the Symphonic Band, Concert Choir and Handbells.
“I first heard about Jewell from my band director at Raytown High School, who was an alum, and later from an English teacher that also graduated from Jewell,” Pinkston said.
Each year Jewell music professors attend the Missouri Music Educators Association Conference at the Tan-Tar-A resort in Osage Beach, Mo.
Aunspaugh said students are drawn to the Jewell music program because they do not have to be a music major to be involved at the College. Any Jewell student can participate in the school’s program— even up to the top-level ensembles. This allows incoming recruits to be free to pursue any career aspirations, while still taking part in music.
Cory Scheer, dean of the Office of Admission, said they aim to bring music students, as well as student-athletes, to Jewell.
“The role of the Office of Admission is to provide whatever support necessary to help coaches in the admission process for student athletes. This same commitment applies to students who are interested in auditioning for music talent scholarships,” Scheer said.
The athletic department works closely with the Office of Admissions to reach out to potential students and set up campus visits for incoming student-athletes.
Dr. Darlene Bailey, William Jewell athletic director, said athletic recruitment can start three years prior to a student coming to Jewell.
“Coaches use different recruiting resources such as, an online scouting service, personal contacts, and current WJC students who know high school student-athletes that would be a good fit for Jewell,” Bailey said.
To bring student-athletes to Jewell, each coach has a recruiting budget. However, the initial, smaller budget is subsidized by resources available at the College.
“For example, the Dining Hall at Jewell is pretty good and it is less expensive than taking a recruit off campus to lunch and it gives the students a feel for what it will really be like when they are here,” said Bailey.
Instead, the recruiting budget is reserved for students, who are making overnight visits, and for coaches to travel to see a prospective student-athlete in action.
In recruiting, coaches have a large pool of talent to draw from but must pick the students who are a good fit for Jewell academics and for the particular team.
“It’s like cooking. It’s a recipe, but you must make all the ingredients come together for the finished product, and that’s the really gratifying part for the coaches,” said Bailey.
Academic programs, like nursing, are a part of what draw student-athletes to Jewell.
“Sometimes at other schools, they say that there are some majors that you cannot do because it is too much of a time commitment and nursing is sometimes one of those,” said Bailey.
Jewell is in competition with other colleges to gain students that are talented in both the classroom and on the field. Dr. Bailey related recruitment to a funnel. At the beginning there may be 100 students, then the funnel filters the students to a very few.
“Jewell offered a high caliber choir, a brand new band program with Dr. Hemenway and music faculty members that I think are the best in their fields,” Pinkston said.
Additional reporting by Brianna Steiert.