Q&A with Admissions Team Leader Jessica Cable
Jessica Cable wants to change lives. As Admissions Team Leader for SJVC’s Lancaster campus she is poised to chip away at that mission every day she is on campus. And, if she has her way, the domino effect of that focus will infect everyone with whom she works and the lives they touch collectively.
Her roadmap is well marked and the landscape dotted with blossoming careers of the many SJVC graduates she help to find solid career ground. This is how she and her team take that dream to those wanting their place in the sun.
What are your key responsibilities as Admissions Team Leader?
I oversee the Admissions Team where I provide guidance and coaching and participate in the student acceptance interviews during the enrollment process. As an Admissions Advisor I also continue to meet with prospective students and guide them through the admissions process.
I try to get to know more about our potential students to make sure there aren’t serious obstacles in the way of their education and career goals. I don’t take it lightly.
What are some of those enrollment obstacles and how do you counter them?
If they’re working, I want to make sure that employment will not get in the way of them coming to class. If they have kids, I want to make sure they have adequate childcare. We discuss their support system and make sure they leave knowing we are here to help them through this journey. We want to identify and address anything that might interfere with their program success.
I want them to know that they have resources in our Academic Dean and Student Advisors who can provide lists of childcare providers, transportation options, mental health resources or support for other needs. To be successful in this choice (commitment to college program), they need all their ducks in a row.
What impact does this unexpected support and new resources have on potential students?
It can be pivotal. Recently we helped a student find new work that wouldn’t conflict with the time of day her program was offered. Sometimes they just need to know that they have somebody in their corner. They’re not just a number here.
How does the Enrollment Services Department work with other departments to benefit students?
We work together to provide our students with a sense of family value here. From our people at the front desk – Engagement Coordinators, that’s their title – to Admissions Advisors, Financial Services, instructors, deans…all the way through to Career Services; from start to finish we know our students on a core level and have lines of support.
We have very personal types of relationships here – not transactional.
When do students realize they are so valued on SJVC’s campus?
From the very beginning. When a student completes the enrollment process, we have a tradition. We bring them to a bell near the lobby where we introduce them, announce the program they enrolled in and congratulate them on their commitment. They ring the bell that signifies the beginning of something important: change and future success by furthering their education. Sometimes families who are there with them for support laugh and cry happy tears. They know what it took for that new student to be here and to make that life-changing decision.
What is the best part of your job?
Connecting with students – especially those who are vulnerable enough to share their struggles. You see them grow from that first appointment and watch them flourish on campus.
Then watching those same students walk across the stage at graduation; their families see them. I watched them bring their babies onto campus to enroll in their program and then see those now-toddlers be a part of their graduation. They are celebrated; some receive awards for academic excellence, Dean’s List, Valedictorian; every graduate is recognized by program they successfully completed. Many come find you afterwards; it’s really nice, often very emotional.
What makes SJVC so effective for so many?
That we really care. Honestly, that’s what has kept me at SJVC for so long – that family atmosphere. A sense of family is one of our core values at SJVC. It is part of our work culture and something that we provide to our students on campus.
What is your greatest struggle in your position?
It’s tough when you can’t help them all. When you’ve done all you can but their circumstances won’t let them move forward; it’s heartbreaking. Those are the tough days. You just have to remember that there are students out there that you can help change their lives. Always tomorrow.
What keeps you motivated?
Knowing that I’m going to see another student in my office and have another opportunity to change someone’s life. I can’t dwell on a student I couldn’t help succeed, but I can focus on the next student I can help to have the life they want.
What inspires you to do well in your position?
I take all the positive emotions from different people who have motivated me throughout the years, the ones I looked to for guidance and leadership. I had a great Advisor when I enrolled in college, and that experience is engrained in my mind and on my heart.
But a lot just comes from me. I have a desire to help others because it just feels good. I get to show up every day with the opportunity to help someone else. And I help others because it just feels good.
Where is your focus right now?
I oversee the Admissions Team and I want to help them grow and to flourish in their positions. I want them to find their passions that keep them showing up every day and relating to new students. We have one-on-one chats every day to help them get to that place.
It’s not always rainbows and butterflies, but we’re very much a family too, and I just want to provide them with the support they need.
What keeps you on an even keel?
My family. They are my world, and I can go home after any kind of day and be recharged. But I need to start my work day by going to the gym – and I can tell when I’ve missed a day! On weekends I’m outdoors with my family.
Our RN to BSN program is a Bachelors degree completion option for Registered Nurses.