New Admissions Director Vows to Serve and Counsel Prospects By Ken Keatley The admissions counselor in Paul White first surfaced during his senior year at a suburban Pittsburgh high school. "I have an identical twin, Peter, who played athletics and was getting mail from all sorts of schools," recalled White, the new director of undergraduate admissions at Hopkins. "He was too busy to fill out his applications, and I literally sat him down and made him do it." The persistence paid off. The twins were accepted at their first-choice school, Yale University. And Paul White has been steering the right students to the right schools ever since. "I'm not just a recruiter; that's a term I never use," White said. "We do public relations, counseling, and dispelling of myths." Because admissions counselors are often a candidate's first contact with an institution, it is vital that they be knowledgeable and personable, White explained. "When I think back to my own recruitment experience, I recall meeting a recruiter at a presentation who was very rude and didn't seem interested in being there," White said. "That memory has stayed with me, so it's obviously important that we as counselors remember we're there to offer prospective students our services." From 1988 until arriving at Hopkins last month, White played an integral role in the admission office at Colgate University in Hamilton, N.Y. He was associate dean of admission for four years and in 1992 became senior associate dean of admission. White worked previously as associate dean of admission at Hamilton College in Clinton, N.Y. and as assistant director of undergraduate admission at his alma mater, Yale. A 1979 graduate of Yale with a bachelor of arts degree in American studies, White in 1987 earned a juris doctor degree from the Georgetown University Law Center. "Like a lot of people who are in admissions, I originally had no idea that it was a profession," White said. "And the longer I stayed, the more I realized that I was doing more to help people here than I would have practicing law." White directs recruitment and undergraduate admissions for the university's School of Arts and Sciences and Whiting School of Engineering. He oversees a staff of eight admissions counselors and a nine-member in-house administrative team. "Paul White is an outstanding professional who is exceptionally well-positioned to lead our undergraduate admissions office to the next level of excellence," said Robert J. Massa, associate dean for enrollment. At Hopkins, where the 1994-95 freshman class of 950 is the largest ever, White hopes to continue the work of the admissions office in championing the diverse, highly-regarded undergraduate programs at the university. "One of the things I would like to do is make sure people understand that Hopkins is a true university, with strong areas across the board," said White. But White--like those students who have had to live three to a dorm room because of the larger than expected freshman class--is well aware that admissions and enrollment officials must look for growth within the boundaries of the university's policies and facilities. It is often a fine line to tread, when the prospect pool is some 60,000 students. White noted that on average, 27 percent of students who are accepted to Hopkins decide to attend. This year, 30 percent signed on. "Who knows why?" White said. "Admissions is part art, part science. But like any science, sometimes you can't quite explain things." White, who coordinated the minority recruitment program at Hamilton, lauded the efforts of Hopkins in doubling its minority enrollment since 1990. "It's important for us to try and mirror our population," he said. "We should try to reflect our society."
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