Northwestern peer adviser applications go live

Stephanie Yang

Over the last two days, Northwestern Facebook users have updated their statuses to incorporate the tag “Apply to be a Peer Adviser 2012” as part of a promotion for the PA application process. Wildcat Welcome Board of Directors has used Face-book and a variety of other mediums to advertise that PA applications for Wildcat Welcome Week 2012 will be accepted starting Friday.

“(We’re) trying to reach out to the entire Northwestern community to ensure that people are interested and people know what’s going on and have the opportunity to apply,” said Parker Murphy, the Wildcat Welcome Board’s School of Communication chair.

Online applications come out Friday and will be open until Feb. 12. The application consists of four short essay questions and a video submission. Wildcat Welcome Board of Directors, the group that oversees Wildcat Welcome week and selects PAs, also requires PA applicants to attend a Call Out session.

After Feb. 12, the submissions are reviewed and some applicants are selected to participate in two group interviews and an individual interview.

“We try to make them as compact and as little of a conflicting time commitment as possible,” Murphy said.

Murphy, a Communication junior, said the Wildcat Welcome Board has been having conversations and meetings about PA applications since December. It has also discussed marketing and advertising, creating flyers and a promotional video.

One promotional strategy is the “Apply to be a Peer Adviser 2012” Facebook page, which offers information on the PA application and encourages students to apply. The page also includes a contest in which students who tag “Apply to be a Peer Adviser 2012” in their statuses are eligible to win a free NU “swag bag,” which includes an assortment of items worth a total of $300 .

About 200 PAs will be selected for Wildcat Welcome 2012, though the number of applicants varies over time, Jonathan Gobrial, marketing and recruitment chair for Wildcat Welcome Board of Directors, said in an email to The Daily.

“The competitiveness varies from department to department, major to major,” Murphy said.

Communication freshman Sam Mueller said she is excited for the application.

“It’s a good thing that it’s competitive,” Mueller said. “It means that a lot of people want to show off Northwestern to the next class.”

Before becoming a member of the Wildcat Welcome Board, Murphy was a PA his sophomore and junior years. He said he thinks being a PA is a way for students to be a part of the NU community and have an impact on the incoming students. Murphy said he wanted to be a PA because of his beneficial relationship with his Peer Adviser.

“We’re still like best friends to this day, ” he said.

Medill junior Sophie Friedman was selected to be a PA for 2011 and applied after friends who were involved with Wildcat Welcome encouraged her to apply.

“I definitely saw room for improvement,” Friedman said about her Wildcat Welcome experience.

Friedman said her freshman year PA group started to fall apart after Wildcat Welcome. She said some PA groups lacked an open environment and PAs, although they acted like mentors, did not feel as though they were on the same level as the freshmen, which made it more difficult to feel like friends.

“(Being a PA) is about being a positive role model, but more importantly a role model that can also be a friend,” Friedman said.

Mueller said her PA group was essential to her NU experience, and even though Wildcat Welcome has long since ended, her group still feels like a family. She said other students from her PA group have also decided to apply to be PAs and have all been anticipating the release of the applications.

Collin Rice, a Communication freshman, said he plans to apply to be a PA for next year.

“I think it’s really cool to be able to bring in the new class and to be able to guide them in their first year at Northwestern,” Rice said.

Rice first decided he wanted to be a PA after Wildcat Welcome and spending time with his own PA, remembering her helpfulness and willingness to answer all his questions.

“Everything I know about Northwestern is because of her,” Rice said. “She brought me here and to where I am today.”

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