David Adams, Assistant Director of Admissions, Widener University
What led you into admissions/college counseling? Share your journey story!
It is a long and sordid story. Not really, I was graduating from Old Dominion University and had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I had worked in the admissions office as a student teleteam caller and a tour guide. My boss came to me and said he thought I would be a great addition to the admissions team and suggested I apply for a vacancy on the staff, so I applied. I interviewed for the position and quite frankly bombed the interview and didn’t get the job. The person who did was amazing and totally deserved it. But in their great wisdom, ODU hired me as a road runner. After two seasons as a road runner the rest is 20 years of history.
What's your favorite admissions/counseling memory or travel story?
I have two or three vivid memories.
1. When I was hired at Old Dominion it was a Friday afternoon and I was coaching rowing. I was leaving practice and received a phone call to report to the admissions office immediately. So I went to the office in my coaching gear which consisted of shorts and a t-shirt, both of which were soaking wet. The VP looked at me, shook her head and told me to come to open house on Saturday (the next day) and I was hitting the road on Sunday for my first college fair. Nothing like on the job training J
2. I was visiting a school on the Eastern Shore of MD and my visit was canceled because a deer was running the hallways of the school.
3. We work in an often thankless job. Even when we are meeting our goals, someone is usually not pleased, whether faculty, the President, or the CFO. I received a letter a couple of years ago from a student I met and admitted to Hood College, when I was the Director of Admission. He thanked me for making a difference in his life and helping him be the success that he had become. It was the most rewarding moment of my career.
What do you love most about your job?
The travel, you can send me on the road and I love it. Every day is a new adventure. The students I meet. It is a joy to open their eyes to their opportunities and abilities. The other admission and college counseling professionals I meet. We all have the same goal and the good ones love what they do regardless of the pay, the hours, and the frustrations.
What advice would you give to someone looking to pursue leadership (or membership) in PCACAC and/or NACAC?
Join one committee, you are most interested in, and give it your all. Being passionate and successful will lead to other leadership opportunities. And if you want to do something, just speak up and let someone know. They will help you find a way to your goals
If not working in admissions/college counseling, what else could you see yourself pursuing? I have already held the best jobs EVER, lifeguarding and bar tending/waiting tables. Since I can’t make a living as a lifeguard, I would like to own my own restaurant someday.
What's one thing that most people don't know about you?
In a previous life (when I was younger) I was a nationally ranked swimmer and in an Olympic training program.
What advice would you give to someone considering entering the admissions/college counseling profession?
This is the most rewarding job you can have. You are making differences in people’s lives every single day.