College ambassadors are students hired to aid in the recruiting process. These positions are normally unpaid, though some students may qualify for work-study income to apply toward their tuition and fees. Ambassadors typically work part-time, around five to 15 hours per week under the direction of the admissions office.
One of the most basic and critical roles of the student ambassador is to provide campus tours to prospective students and their families. This is a key part of a college visit for a high school senior or possible transfer student looking to get a feel for the campus. The tour usually begins at the admissions office and includes a walk-through of the main campus, student centers, library and cafeteria, and classroom buildings specific to the prospect's programs. During tours, student ambassadors also answer questions from the student and his family.
Outside of scheduled tour times, ambassadors often assist with a variety of office and clerical tasks. They input student data from direct mail cards and surveys into a computer software program. This database is used to contact prospective students on the phone or via email and to send out recruiting letters and materials. Additionally, the ambassador may print out mailing labels and prepare these recruiting items to go out in the mail.
Spending time on the phone coordinating individual and group campus visits is a common ambassador role as well. This includes receiving calls and scheduling visits for potential students. It also involves contacting on-campus departments, when necessary, to arrange space and presentations. The ambassador may also contact faculty in the prospect's preferred college program to arrange personal visits to a class and to meet during office time.
The name "ambassador" generally conveys that the student ambassador's role is to promote the advantages of the college or university to the public, and in particular, to potential students. At some recruiting and college events, ambassadors give presentations or offer personal testimonies about their experiences. Positive testimonies from current students are often one of the best sales tools a school has in promoting itself to future students. This role may include short, impromptu presentations, as well as planned, formal presentations.