21 STARs chosen to represent NIU

By Stephanie Bradley

NIU has chosen 21 of its “STARs” to represent the university at high school and community colleges across Illinois.

Daniel Oborn, director of NIU’s Office of Admissions, said his office selected “successful students who enjoy school and want to seek an opportunity to talk about NIU” to take part in its Student Admissions Representatives program (STARs).

To be considered for the program, STAR students had to have completed 30 hours and have a grade point average of at least 2.5, Christopher Porterfield, assistant director of orientation and student assistance, said.

Students also should have had a knowledge of the campus and good communication skills, Porterfield said. Students who volunteer are considered for inclusion in the program late in the spring semester and begin work in the fall, he said.

The admissions office needs student input, Oborn said, to point out the good and bad characteristics in order to improve the program. “We’re interested in active students who have had experiences on campus,” he said.

To attract students to the program, the admissions office ran advertisements in The Northern Star and in the residence halls, Oborn said. “We like to have 12 to 20 students in the program. Some of them are usually carryovers from the previous year,” he said. “It’s good experience for them when they go to interviews.”

Oborn said a schedule of open houses and college nights is established, and students may sign up for whichever dates they are available. The more students that are in the program, the less of an imposition it is for them, he said.

This year marks NIU senior John Fassola’s second session as a STAR. Fassola, a political science major, said volunteers have to donate one hour a week in the admissions office. They also are required to go to community college and high school “college nights,” he said.

STARs help the admissions counselors at the events by giving potential NIU students a view of the school from a student’s perspective, Fassola said.

He said that because potential students are unfamiliar with the schools they consider attending, their questions are usually general and probably will be asked of admissions representatives from other universities.

“Even though we don’t get paid for participating in the program, it will look good on my resume. I like the program because I like the people who are running it,” Fassola said.

The program has been in operation for about four years and is headed by Kathy Harp, NIU assistant director of admissions.