Students in Service and Leadership at Harvard

Introduction to the Undergraduate Minority Recruitment Program

What is the Undergraduate Minority Recruitment Program?

The Undergraduate Minority Recruitment Program (UMRP) is the oldest student recruitment branch of the Harvard Undergraduate Admissions Office. It acts as a resource for all prospective students to the College, specifically focusing on students from minority backgrounds and students of color who often do not consider Harvard as a possibility. The UMRP expands awareness of and provides information about the diversity on campus, as well as the application process at Harvard College to minority middle and high school students. The UMRP answers any questions about the Harvard College experience and the application to Harvard. It also arranges information sessions and tours on and off campus and coordinates overnight visits for prospective and admitted students. It also reaches out to newly admitted students to answer questions they may have about diversity, inclusion, and more generally, life at Harvard College. 

Who works for the Undergraduate Minority Recruitment Program?

It is staffed by 10 undergraduate student coordinators and supervised by two admissions officers. These are students who are passionate about raising awareness of the need for diversity on campus and about encouraging minority students to consider applying to Harvard. Student coordinators are separated into different divisions to address questions about students' experiences from specific ethnic or cultural backgrounds. The questions addressed are usually about how it is like to adjust to college as a student of a specific minority background, the different cultural affinity groups available on campus, and students' sense of belonging and inclusion on campus. There are currently an Asian American, African American, Native American, Latinx, and Mexican American division, with 1-2 coordinators per division. Outside of those specific questions, student coordinators work together to answer general questions about the student life and application process at Harvard. 

What do the UMRP student coordinators do? 

UMRP student coordinators support the Admissions Office by contacting prospective students through direct mail, telephone, e-mail, social media; sending current undergraduates to their hometowns to speak with prospective students; responding to inquiries about student life at Harvard; serving as a liaison between prospective students and student organizations, particularly those relating to cultural affinity and identity, and the Admissions Office; and creating and maintaining relationships with organizations geared towards furthering college access. The student coordinators also write blog posts and run social media accounts to provide a more personal perspective of being a student at Harvard. 

How does one get involved the Undergraduate Minority Recruitment Program?

There are a variety of ways in which an undergraduate student can get involved in the UMRP. There are currently three different roles that students can apply for throughout the year: 

UMRP Term-Time Student Coordinator

To become a term-time student coordinator, one fills out an application that requires several components, such as written responses to short-answer questions, a 1-minute video introduction, and an interview with the admissions officer supervisors. The short-answer questions in the written application ask about why the student is interested in working for this particular recruitment office, the student's personal experiences with student life in general and cultural affinity groups at Harvard, and what skills the student can bring to the office to help recruit high school students. The application is actually the same for all the student recruitment offices, which comprise of the UMRP, the Harvard Financial Aid Initiative, the Harvard First Generation Program, the Harvard College Connection, and then Undergraduate Admissions Council. The first three focus on reaching out to specific student groups, such as minority, low-income, and first-generation students respectively, while the last two provide more general recruitment services to all students, such as matching prospective students with overnight hosts who are current undergraduates at the College. The video component asks you to introduce yourself and one highlight about Harvard in 1 minute. This is to gauge whether you can be engaging and informative at the same time while speaking to an audience of high school students, which the student coordinator would be expected to do when meeting with a prospective student in the admissions office or conducting a tour of campus. The interview is again about the same types of questions found on the written application, but it requires more in-depth explanations of some of the students' responses. It also attempts to see if the student can speak effectively about the pros and cons of being a Harvard student under pressure while remaining calm and positive. These speaking skills are heavily utilized not only when they are encouraging high school students to apply, but also when they are convincing admitted students to ultimately matriculate to Harvard, which is the main goal, at the two call-a-thons the UMRP hosts for admitted early action and regular decision students. Here is a pub below: 

UMRP Summer-Time Student Coordinator

The application process is the same as the one for term-time coordinators. A lot of what summer-time student coordinators do is similar to what term-time coordinators do, with the addition of a few research and special projects depending on the needs of the admissions office. They tend to write more blog posts about student life on the student blog, conduct more tours (as more high school students have time to visit during their summer breaks), and continue answering questions and emails from students. Some of the cool innovative projects they've worked on are updating a database of prospective students, making tags on the student blog more efficient, and creating a "Students of Harvard" photography series on Instagram. The first two make term-time coordinators' work much more effective because they are able to reach out to more high school students who might not consider Harvard, and they make blog posts easier to sort and find by keywords. The photography series gives an honest look at how students thrive and struggle at Harvard through their own personal quotes and photographs in their natural habitats on campus. For more information about the summer coordinator position, please refer to Alexa's interview on the "Story of Us" page. 

UMRP Hometown Recruiter

To become a hometown recruiter, the student fills out the same written application as the term-time student coordinator application, which requires the short-answer responses and a video submission. However, they go through two rounds of interviews. The first round is conducted by current student coordinators, where the student has to present a 3-4 minute speech that gives an overview of Harvard's student life and application process while pretending to stand in front of a large audience of high school students. They then answer tough questions that past hometown recruiters and student coordinators have often gotten to see how they would respond to these tricky and sometimes controversial topics. For example, many high school students are curious about affirmative action and final clubs on campus, which may be difficult to talk about given the confidential and controversial nature of the topics. This interview shows how the recruiter can navigate these situations and present Harvard in an open, yet positive light. The second round of interviews is given to those who succeeded in the first round, based on the recommendations of two student coordinators who interviewed them. This round is conducted by the supervisors (the admissions officers) themselves to provide a secondary opinion of whether they would be a good fit for the office. 

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