“A Great Place to Work”, She Admits; An Interview with Senior Admissions Fellow Singha Hon
Singha Hon, a current senior, started working as a senior fellow in admissions this past September. “All the fellows met at the beginning of the year,” says Hon, “ which is when we started training and then dove into the job. Singha heard about the position of senior admissions fellow her first year at Bates from two senior theater majors who were both fellows. “They had a lot of great stories and loved the job, and it made a lot of sense to me that as they were both strong public speakers and performers, they would enjoy meeting a lot of people, conducting interviews, and leading information sessions” Singha explains. Therefore, she kept the idea in the back of her mind that she would one day apply for the job when she could, “and last year, one of my friends who was currently a senior fellow also highly recommended the experience and encouraged me to apply.”
That spring there was a meeting about the job which gave an overview of the position and linked students to the job posting and the application which were on the SEO website. “The application process was pretty straight forward–I went to an information session, sent in an application and then interviewed at the end of short term last year.” Singha applied for the job because she thought it would be “really exciting and fun to get to be a part of the admissions process at Bates and because everyone I knew who had done the job had only great things to say about it.” Additionally, Hon thought it would be a great opportunity to talk about the two departments she was most involved in: both theater and visual arts.
Day to day tasks of being a Senior Admissions Fellow are divided between information sessions and interviews with prospective applicants. “On Mondays Jake Sandor and I give information sessions together, while on Fridays Helen Chyz and I work together for information sessions.” Last semester Singha worked both during the week and on Saturday mornings, conducting interviews with prospective students. Depending on how busy the week is and the demand for interviews, Singha’s hours can change, but she usually has 5 hours booked in every week for information sessions and interviews.
When asked if she had any funny or interesting stories about things that happened during her work hours, Singha replied that “when I first started working in admissions I felt a lot like I was playing dress up by putting on more formal business clothes, especially when I would be changing right out of my painting overalls or rehearsal clothes into an office-appropriate outfit. I’m always checking that I don’t have paint on myself but sometimes I’ll be in the middle of an interview or information session and realize that my hands are totally stained with blue oil paint or that I definitely have traces of paint on my shoes”
In addition, since a large part of Singha’s job is to discuss Bates and her experience at the college to prospective students and their parents, a lot of silly things tend to happen. This is because Singha often is asked to describe what she is doing for her theses as they are both provocative on some level. “It’s been especially funny trying to find words to appropriately describe my theater thesis to prospective students or to their parents. The show I performed in was called In the Next Room or the Vibrator Play, and involved a lot of…well, racy material. All of last semester as I was getting comfortable with what the show’s material during rehearsal, I was also definitely getting comfortable with telling curious people I had just met about it,” Singha explains.
Singha’s favorite part of the job is “really just getting to meet so many excited prospective students and know that they could do really amazing things at Bates.” Singha explains that interacting with these prospective students makes her feel as though she’s also a part of the next incoming class “because we all get to meet students who will just be starting the process of college even though we are getting ready to graduate ourselves.” She also adds that she loves her job because it’s great to do something that is so separate from thesis work and the intensity of the academic year. “It has been really nice to have a job that reminds me of the bigger picture,” Hon remarks.
Singha finds that a great aspect of the job is that it asks fellows to be able to speak comfortably with people they are just meeting. Whether in interviews or in information sessions, Hon has found it really important to be able to be comfortable and personable with the people she’s interacting with. “It’s also really great to experience what it is like to be an interviewer because you start to think about what makes a good conversation or meeting or impression.” One thing Singha has noticed is that often her favorite interviews were with with students who were genuine, excited, and energetic enough to make it a real conversation rather than a question and answer session. Because she has had the opportunity to be on the interviewing side of interviews, Singha has gained valuable perspective and knowledge for future and upcoming job interviews she must go through herself. “There are a lot of things I’d like to do–and generally I’d say improving people skills are pretty key,” says Hon.
For Singha, admissions is a great place to work. She explains that “everyone who works there is very supportive and excited over what’s happening on campus. In addition, there’s also a large amount of senior thesis art work from previous years hanging around the office!