Photo Credits: MICHAEL LEAHY / AGGIE
Undergraduate Admissions released freshman decisions on March 8
Located across from the Mondavi Center, the Welcome Center, home to Undergraduate Admissions, is on the outskirts of the central campus. Unless they become tour guides or take a class there, many students don’t return to the Welcome after their initial campus tours. Within the building, however, professional staff and student public advisors have been in a whirlwind since March 8 — when decisions were released to all freshman applicants, the class of 2023.
Brenda Fudge Jensen, associate director of public advising and admissions advising, spoke to the amount of effort needed by the office in the weeks after decisions are released. Just on Monday alone, the back office of Undergraduate Admissions was ablaze with calls as five student public advisors manned phones with queues racking up left and right. They answered calls to give students their MyAdmissions ID number, but they also answered calls consoling students who were rejected from school they had dreamed of attending.
“Everybody pulls together to answer questions either on the phone or on the field,” Fudge Jensen said. “Everyone is available to answer questions. We all pitch in as one big team to help anyone who is confused or has questions about what the next step is.”
With rejections and students who are now confronted with questions about financial aid and their ability to invest in an education, the office’s stresses pile up easily.
“There aren’t enough hours in the day for the amount of work and for all of us,” Fudge Jensen said. “We are all working hard, reading applications, advising people out front, advising people on the phone…there just aren’t enough hours in the day.”
According the Fudge Jensen, the year looked like a lot of other years —similar application numbers and all. The admit rate, however, was lower.
“It was just super competitive [this year],” Fudge Jensen said.
Fudge Jensen and her coworkers started reading applications for freshmen in mid-December, then moving onto transfer applications in mid-to-late-January. Months of effort went into this moment on March 8, and it acts as a catalyst for the workload for the rest of the year. Along with Fudge Jensen, student public advisors work to keep the stresses of applicants at bay via phone lines or sitting at the front desk to offer drop-in advising.
“The most stressful part of being an advisor during admissions season is having conversations with students who weren’t admitted,” said Jessica Boensch, a fourth-year political science and communication major who serves as a public advisor. “Admission to UC Davis gets more competitive every year, and we receive so many applications that there are some very qualified students who aren’t admitted or are put on the waitlist.”
Boensch recalled how stressful admissions season was for her in high school, so she finds herself resonating with worried students on the phone.
“Hearing someone say they had their heart set on UC Davis and didn’t get in is always hard,” Boensch said.
There are reasons for joy for public advisors as well. Admitted students who are excited to come to campus give Boensch reasons to love her job.
“Students have questions about the campus culture and classes which I have fun answering because I love UC Davis so much,” Boensch said. “Their excitement is contagious.”
Boensch, like many public advisors, is in her last year at Davis. For these students, a lot of nostalgia is born out of answering questions for people who are just now beginning their collegiate journey. Kia Aliakbar is another public advisor nearing the end of his own career at UC Davis. He, similarly to Boensch, finds joy in his job during this time of year.
“Our bosses are so friendly and caring for us, they make it feel like a family,” Aliakbar said,” And speaking with incoming students gives you an opportunity to feed their excitement and curiosity. It’s really very energizing.”
A lot of the department finds this happiness in the people, Fudge Jensen being no exception.
“Joys come from working with the people,” Fudge Jensen said. “Especially the one that says ‘Davis is my dream school’ and they got in. When a parent calls you on the phone and they’re crying tears of joy, that’s really exciting.”
Written by: OLIVIA LUCHINI — firstname.lastname@example.org