Cheylynn Plese has been an admissions advisor at Herzing College for 10 years
The college admissions interview. It's a major source of stress for students all over the world. Most people are afraid of being judged and rejected...or pressured to make a decision about enrollment before they're truly ready.
Going back to school is a big life move. It often comes with feelings of anxiety around academic performance, tuition costs, and balancing time between work, family, and classes.
A bad admissions experience can be enough to make you slam on the breaks and forget the whole plan!
On the other hand, a good admissions interview can make all the difference. A great admissions advisor will inform, guide, and support you during your transition back to school. You will feel ready to tackle the challenges ahead with total confidence.
What kind of experience can you expect at Herzing? This week, we went straight to the source to get answers. We interviewed Cheylynn Plese, an admissions advisor with Herzing College for the last 10 years.
Over the past decade, Cheylynn has seen it all. She's heard every question, every concern, every doubt about returning to school. She's helped hundreds of students overcome those challenges, earn their diplomas, and start brand-new careers.
We asked Cheylynn to explain what goes on at the Herzing admissions interview. Here's how every step of the process works and exactly what to expect during your interview.
Q: How long have you been an Admissions Advisor at Herzing? How did you get started?
Cheylynn: In July it will be 10 years at Herzing! It all started over lunch with a friend who worked for Herzing College and mentioned the job opening.
I told her I thought I'd be a good fit for the job, and she agreed. I sent over my resume and was hired part-time in an admissions support position. Over the years, my role expanded and I did different kinds of work for the admissions department.
Eventually, an admissions advisor position opened up and I was really excited to get the job!
Q: Can you walk us through each step of the admissions interview? Exactly what happens?
Cheylynn: I always begin by welcoming the student to the college and offering a drink of water or coffee. Once we’re ready to begin, I explain exactly what information we’re going to cover, and ask the student a few questions about their background and career goals.
I like to understand a student’s situation, background, and what has led them to seek education, so we discuss all of that. There’s always a reason why someone needs change in their life, and I appreciate when students are willing to share that with me. It helps me to advise them better in terms of which diploma program really suits their career goals and whether Herzing is a good fit overall. We don't just push people into enrolling. We take the time to get to know each applicant, so we can provide real guidance and support.
Once we’ve covered that information, we look deeper at the program the student is considering. We go over courses, cost, and class scheduling, and begin creating a plan for educational funding.
Our funding advisor will also come and introduce herself. She’s a major part of the process and a real expert on financial aid. Funding is a worry for many people, so having a team there to help with each step is usually such a relief for the student! We make it as simple and stress-free as possible.
Then we proceed with a tour of the college. I always stop by the hiring and internship boards, where you can see all of our successful graduates. I also introduce the student to our amazing career services team.
We take care of the admissions test, and if everything goes well, we can go ahead and enrol! People are always surprised by how painless (and even fun!) the admissions interview is.
Q: What is the ultimate goal of the admissions interview?
Cheylynn: Our goal is to find out what the student needs. From there, we can determine if Herzing is a good fit. We do this by identifying goals and challenges and creating a realistic plan for the student.
We want to make sure each student is fully prepared to start training, which really helps decrease the stress and anxiety of going back to school. I think going back to school should be exciting, not stressful!
We want students to understand that there is a team of people here to support them at every step. It starts with the admissions interview and carries all the way through to graduation.
Q: Can you do admissions interviews online? How does that work?
Cheylynn: Yes! We have been using what we call “virtual interviews” for a couple of years now. Essentially, I email the student a link so that we can do a "screen share" if they have a device handy.
At the scheduled time, I call them on the phone and they click the link I sent in the email. I share my screen with them for a virtual presentation of Herzing College.
We cover all the same information as an in-person interview, with the exception of the college tour. We have testing set up for online in most cases, and even enrolment can be done online!
This is perfect for people who live far from campus or can't make it in during working hours. We try to be as flexible as possible so everyone has the chance to get an interview.
Q: What are the most common questions students ask during the admissions interview?
Cheylynn: Students always ask about:
1) The cost of tuition for their program.
2) The class schedule for their program.
3) How the internship works.
4) What career services Herzing provides once they graduate.
Q: Are some students unsure about which diploma program to choose? How do you help them decide?
Cheylynn: Definitely! I call these appointments career explorations. Sometimes students are overwhelmed by all the options or can’t decide between two programs. So we need to explore the options and find the right fit for their goals.
The first thing I ask is what sort of job they want to have. Are they looking for an office job or something more involved with relationships and people?
What sort of hours do they want to be working, and what kind of environment do they prefer to work in?
If people tell me something like, “I’m looking for a meaningful job where I can really help people,” I might suggest one of our healthcare programs.
If someone says “I want a job where I'm working in a professional office setting,” then I would suggest some of our business programs. If the student talks about wanting a creative career, we can look at our broadcasting and media communications program.
I often get students who come from hands-on jobs in construction, and due to an injury or job loss they need a career change, so I’ll suggest an occupational health and safety program.
When we know more about your experience and interests, we can guide you toward a program that fits your unique profile.
Q: Are most people nervous during the interview?
Cheylynn: Sometimes, yes. Usually people are nervous because they don’t know what to expect. They're afraid to say something wrong or worried about failing some test.
I think it’s normal to be nervous. it just shows that this process is important to you. I always tell students that my goal is to help them, not to judge them! Once the interview gets started, students usually relax and feel more at ease.
Q: What do students gain from attending the admissions interview? Why is it so important?
Cheylynn: The admissions interview is important because it helps people understand how Herzing is unique. Not all schools provide the same support or flexibility.
It’s nice to have an interview with an actual person who will remain in contact with you and provide support whenever you need it. Plus, once you've had your admissions interview, you are better prepared to choose the right program and make smart decisions about your future.
Q: What are the biggest misconceptions people have about the admissions interview?
Cheylynn: Many people think they’ll be pressured into making a major commitment before they’re ready. Some of our students have visited larger schools and had an intimidating experience. They are expecting Herzing to be the same.
So it’s usually a refreshing surprise when they aren’t pressured to enrol or feel intimidated during our interview!
Q: What's your favourite thing about being an admissions advisor at Herzing?
Cheylynn: I love what I do! I enjoy hearing people’s reasons for change, and being a part of their journey toward achieving their goals. I am grateful to play a small role in the early steps of that transformation.
Seeing students cross the stage at our graduation ceremonies is really wonderful!
Q: Any last words of advice for students who are coming in for an interview?
Cheylynn: Research your options, write down your questions, and get excited because good things come to those who invest in growth!
Still have questions?
If you're interested in exploring diploma programs or want to set up an admissions interview, it's easy to get started.
You can chat live with an advisor like Cheylynn right now. Or use the tools on this page to request information on your program of interest. We're here to help!