Corey Grazul, '08, knows a little about alumni referrals. After all, he ended up at Albion College thanks in part to his dermatologist.
"I went there to have my pimples looked at," he said with a laugh. "I was going into my senior year at high school and my dermatologist (in Saginaw) asked if I'd thought about college. I said, ‘Well, yeah' and she said, ‘You ought to think about going to Albion. That's where I graduated.' I'd never even heard of Albion."
Intrigued, he took a visit, enrolled, graduated and stayed. And that, in its most basic form, is a referral – a suggestion, a push, an endorsement from an alumna or alumnus of a college that a high school student, looking toward life's next stage, might want to consider attending.
And it's what Grazul and Marsha Whitehouse, '70, are doing their best to expand at Albion.
"We want to target students for admission," Grazul said. "In advertising it's called the ‘hot lead.'"
"It's pretty basic," Whitehouse said. "We're looking for new business. We're looking at kids for whom Albion isn't on the radar."
Grazul, who also serves as an admission counselor, and Whitehouse, a former teacher and the College's associate director of campus visit programs from 1999 until she retired in 2013, began their new roles as alumni referral coordinators this summer.
The referral program has resulted in connecting alumni with more than 500 prospective students in each of the past two years. Under Angela Sheets, '82, the effort has contributed significantly to the success of both recruiting cycles. She will now step aside in that role as the office devotes more staff to the program.
Whitehouse will continue to train alumni in the referral process. She is also setting up referral workshops this fall to help alumni make the case for Albion.
Grazul will develop infrastructure and communication to support the volunteers, create a college fair and spring awards program, and assist other recruiters with integrating alumni volunteers in their territories.
Alumni who make a referral can help continue the process by actively recruiting the student, offering support throughout the student's college search, recommending campus visits, and encouraging his or her application to Albion.