TOLEDO – Less than eight years after completing his own college studies, Sidney High School alumnus Collin Palmer is leading admission and recruitment efforts for the University of Toledo.
Palmer was named Toledo’s director of undergraduate recruitment in August after serving as the interim director for seven months. He’s also the president-elect for the Ohio Association for College Admission Counseling and has developed a passion for helping students.
“The part I like most is probably working with families and students,” the 2008 Sidney High School graduate said. “This is one of the most important decisions a person will make.”
With his job, Palmer directs the recruitment and admission of traditional, transfer, adult and online students coming to Toledo. He helps organize the university’s presence at college fairs, community college visits, high school visits and other events on and off campus.
The most rewarding part of his job, he said, is helping students find the right fit for their college ambitions.
“I also like the strategy and marketing components that go along with it as well,” he said.
Many members of Palmer’s family have worked in education. Two of his grandparents worked for Sidney City Schools, he has several aunts and uncles who are teachers, and one of his uncles served on Sidney’s Board of Education.
The Sidney alumnus considered a career in education as a history teacher and also considered becoming an attorney, ultimately double majoring in college. Both degrees have been beneficial – making him a better communicator, researcher, critical thinker and problem solver – but he ultimately pursued a different, and unexpected, career path.
“No person in undergrad ever thinks they’re going to work in admissions,” Palmer said as he traveled to the National Association for College Admission Counseling National Conference, “but there’s going to be 7,000 of us in Louisville at this conference.”
Palmer first discovered his interest in admissions while studying at The Ohio State University at Lima. He started in the field by giving campus tours, a common path into a career in admissions, he said.
After two years in Lima, Palmer transferred to Ohio State’s main campus in Columbus and got a job as a junior admissions counselor in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions.
“It was really fun being proud of something and getting paid to talk about it,” he said.
Following his graduation from Ohio State in June 2012, Palmer had admissions jobs with OSU in Columbus and Mansfield. He also worked for the University of Maryland for more than a year before returning to Ohio in April 2017 to take a job at the University of Toledo.
He began his tenure at Toledo as an associate director of undergraduate admission then was named interim director of undergraduate recruitment in February. After seven months as the interim director, he was named the director of undergraduate admission this fall.
“I’ve really enjoyed my experience there,” Palmer said of working at Toledo. “It’s been a great place to work. I really believe in the mission of UT and what we’re trying to do.”
In his job, Palmer recruits students and tries to help them prepare for college. He provides information to prospective students about the application process, financial aid opportunities and more to help them make an informed decision about their college choice.
“I am sincerely interested in seeing students from Shelby County attend college, obviously would love to have them attend the one I work at,” he said.
Palmer thinks the University of Toledo has a lot to offer students. He said the city of Toledo is a good size for college students, the university is an ideal size and the university’s campus is beautiful. He also said graduates of the university have some of the lowest student debt in the country but still earn some of the best starting salaries.
“I think Toledo is a great fit for really any student,” Palmer said.
While college debt is a hot button issue, Palmer said, he wants students to know there are opportunities to receive financial aid and lessen the burden. Toledo annually awards $110 million in financial aid, but millions of dollars are left on the table every year, he said.
Having a strong GPA, having good standardized test scores, taking challenging courses and being active in extracurricular activities can help students earn admission into a university and help them earn scholarships, Palmer said.
“I think it’s important for people to know that their high school performance means a lot in what financial aid we’re able to give,” Palmer said.
Along with being proactive in seeking financial aid, students should visit as many schools as possible when considering their college options. Making campus visits helps students discover if they’ll enjoy a college and if it has the resources to make them successful, Palmer said.
“There’s a college out there for every student,” Palmer said, stating that college graduates have $1 million more in career earning potential than individuals without a degree.
In his new role, Palmer is leading efforts to convince students that Toledo is the right place for them. His department’s goal is to enroll more than 3,000 undergraduate students for the fall 2020 semester.
“I want 3,050 students who are going to be Rockets, who are going to do well, who are going to give back to their communities, who are going to have jobs and all of that stuff,” Palmer said.
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