Welcoming, Celebrating, Informing Admitted Students

There's plenty going on in Theo Badillo's world these days. The first-year Mechanical Engineering major at the University of San Diego is taking a full load of classes, including a lab. He’s a member of the hall council in his on-campus residential space, he attends Wednesday night's Mass for Peace and he works in Jenny Craig Pavilion's business department.

But he happily makes time to welcome all potentially new USD students — admitted students — to campus. Badillo is one of several current students serving as a Torero Ambassador through the Office of Undergraduate Admissions

On this particular day, a Thursday, it's his prime weekday to give back in the ambassador role — he's helping prospective students think about their college decision. Earlier, he led two campus tours to prospective students and parents. Now, during the late afternoon, Badillo is in the Degheri Alumni Center where, alongside other committed ambassadors, he's calling some of USD's more than 7,000 admitted students who are eligible to be Toreros this fall. 

He congratulates applicants on being admitted to USD and Badillo answers questions ranging from San Diego's weather and what happens socially on campus to inquiries about majors and how many students participate in Greek Life. The hope is that his answers give the admitted student key insight into USD by way of a current student. And, when he hangs up the phone, Badillo will sign a postcard as a follow-up to congratulate them on their admittance. 

Badillo appreciates his role because, after all, it wasn't long ago that he was the one being called. 

"It's weird knowing that I was in their shoes just a year ago. But it's been great. I've really come a long way the last few months," he said. 

Badillo has made the connection. He's found different spaces on campus to feel at home. He likes his major and is excited to be a resident assistant (RA) this fall, which is a true confirmation that, for him, choosing USD was the right decision. 

Badillo's actions are a classic example of the "culture of care" USD has to celebrate and inform admitted students and their families during the college decision-making process. USD routinely admits about half of the applications it receives by the December 15 deadline. Of that number, approximately 1,150 or so will be Toreros this fall.

While it is just a fraction of number of admitted students, USD officials know students have a choice. They know the average student applies to 10 schools, so they spend their time on one question. 

"We focus on an admitted student's interest in USD and make sure it's a great fit for them," says Tiana Kelly, an assistant director in the Office of Admissions. "We want to be our authentic selves as a community and really represent USD as a Catholic institution. We want them to know about our academics and how they are rigorous, and yet students can build those relationships with our professors and administration. That plays such an integral role. It starts at the admitted students' experience. We're helping them build a connection to USD right away."

Torero Experience Events

The Torero Experience offers 18 different events through late April tailored for admitted students. After receiving a welcome package all admitted students are eligible at attend the following on-campus events during the spring.

• Torero for a Day events (April 3, 19, 24, 27) allow admitted students to shadow a current student, meet with faculty members and much more.

• April 8's Torero Visit Day is an informative experience that includes a clubs/organizations bazaar, student and parent panels, campus tours, meals with students and faculty, academic breakout sessions, and admissions and financial aid presentations. Admitted students are also encouraged to connect with each other.

• April 23’s Come and See is a day for admitted students to learn more about USD's Catholic identity and ways they can grow in their faith.

• Learn about USD through webcasts, both previously broadcast and upcoming talks. Still-to-come topics are Navigating your Financial Aid Award (March 29, 6 p.m. Pacific Time), Embracing the Catholic Intellectual Tradition (April 4, 6 p.m. PT) and Do You Bleed Torero Blue? (April 20, 4 p.m. PT). Prospective students can also view different Torero Life videos.

Between on-campus events, campus tours, informative online presentations and call nights with current students entrenched in Torero Life, the hope is that admitted students and families take full advantage so they make an informed decision if USD is the right choice.

"Is USD going to be a great fit for you? It's about being educated and knowledgeable about what USD can offer as a student and as an alumni member," Kelly said. "It's about knowing the resources and support you'll have from day one. A really big part is making USD and higher education accessible to all students no matter their background, race, gender or socioeconomic status. It's about living up to our mission of being inclusive, knowing we have things in place to help you. We want you to come and experience them so you know how to utilize them, know how you find them and that we have people here to help you."

— Ryan T. Blystone