“Aren’t you guys the basketball powerhouse that went to the final four?” This question was the first inquiry of my 4 week-long trip in the mid-west, and I honestly thought I had my hands full with students that would only know us because of the epic run in the 2006 NCAA tournament. I have to say, I have been pleasantly surprised with the knowledge and interest from St. Louis, Minnesota, and now Milwaukee.
When packing for a month long trip to my mid-west territories for the end of September into October, my warm weather gear was not considered. I humbly say, I could not have been more wrong!! This weather has been a wonderful surprise, with record highs and only ONE day without sunshine and blue skies. The weather has been beautiful, the sites incredible, the food fantastic, and best of all…the students and their families I have had the pleasure of meeting and speaking with have been amazing. The only thing I would leave this part of the country for is to be back home at Mason (and of course my George Mason Basketball team!!)
The hardest part of recruiting out of state at times is telling families that their children will be happy so far from home. Every student is so very different, and each of them needs something unique to make their four years in college what they want it to be. The pleasant surprise to my season thus far has been the out-going personalities of so many different kinds of students wanting to go far and gain new experiences. The east coast, and more specifically, right outside of Washington, D.C. is such a great area of the country for young people to reach their next step. The young men and women I have met with thus far love our large campus advantages of internships, city access, study abroad, and so much more. These students are also impressed with the small campus class sizes we have and the caliber of our faculty and staff. Needless to say, Mason is not just a hidden gem to many here.
I have had a blast going up in the arch in St. Louis (although I was a bit nervous on the ride up). I was completely overwhelmed with the Mall of America in Minnesota, and could not decide what to buy where. The chance to watch the Milwaukee Brewers WIN Game 5 of the NLDS was inspirational, but I stand by my comment…no matter what great things I have done in my down time, the students I have met have been the highlight of my trip, and I cannot wait to work with all of them all in the application process.
The application season for seniors in high school is a stressful process, but these students in Missouri, Minnesota, and Wisconsin seem to have the total package and are ready to bring their best to the colleges they apply to – and of course to MASON next fall.
Well, that’s all for now. I am off to the Windy City, aka Chi-Town, aka Chicago, IL for a week and a half and will report back soon. Happy applying and blog-reading until then!