Tori’s role has been called “director of first impressions” but her RSI job title is admissions coordinator.
Thanks for your time, Tori. How long have you been with RSI?
About a year and a half. I started as a temp in February 2017 before they decided to make me permanent in July of last year. I started as admissions assistant before being promoted to admissions coordinator.
Tell us about your career path. What brought you to RSI?
I’ve been working nonstop since I was 16. I started in retail and moved on to food service. I worked at a restaurant for about four years. I moved myself up from cashier, to line cook, to a supervisor working at multiple locations. Then I decided that it was time to get a real career, a job where I could actually help people out. I like making people happy. That’s why I chose customer service in the first place.
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Is that why you moved to education?
The job sounded appealing, and yes, I like making people happy, telling people good news. I can be stern when I need to give people bad news, and I’m good at it. But overall, I figured it would be a really good fit for me, working directly with students. It’s nice to be able to see them change their lives. It’s really cool.
What do you do on a day-to-day basis?
Basically, I get people set up with interviews with an admissions representative on the admissions team. They can then tour the school, go over all the class information, things like that. When it comes to starting classes, I get their student IDs ready and get them signed in on their first day.
If they need to make payments or see the financial aid team before they start, I make sure that gets done. I definitely come into contact with every single student who comes through the school. We try to set them up for success, then it’s up to them. I try to help the students with anything that they need and answer their questions.
How many people are in the admissions department?
Including our director, there are eight members on the team, seven of whom are campus based.
If someone is interested in attending RSI, do they need an appointment with admissions?
No, we take walk-ins every day! If they’re interested, they can call or just walk in, take a full tour of the campus, meet with financial aid and talk with instructors and staff. They get to see everything and everyone.
Typically, do Admissions staff have much contact with students once they’re enrolled?
Once they’re active students, it’s really Student Services that take care of them, but I’m still in contact with them. We’re at the front desk, answering phones, but it’s more of an informal relationship after the first few days.
What are the most common questions you get asked by students?
I get asked a lot of the same questions every day! Mostly, what I hear is, “Is it really a good field to get into?” I always tell them that if they’re dedicated, if it’s what they really want to do, it is an excellent field because everybody needs their air conditioning or refrigeration working during the summer, especially here in Arizona. It’s definitely a stable career for sure.
Other than that, I get asked about pricing, the length of the programs and my personal opinion on the school.
I had a guy come in just today, an older gentleman, who asked if he was too old to come to school here. I told him, no, age doesn’t matter! We have people in their 60s, even 70s, who come into RSI to change their lives and make some money. I’ve had a lot of retired guys come in who are tired of being retired and want to do something with their lives.
Do you stay in touch with graduates?
We have a lot of grads who come back and say hi, to let us know where they’re at. We have one graduate, Toby, who comes by all the time. He just graduated a couple of months ago. He comes in sometimes to help out with the instructors. He was one of our student ambassadors, actually. He and I would talk all the time, and we catch up when he comes in.
How can people help you to help them?
When it comes to dealing with admissions, be prepared mentally for it. It’s kind of a big step, so know what you want before you come in. Don’t just come to RSI because your parents want you to, or because you don’t know what else to do. Come in knowing what you want from your career and out of life.
For the school, in general, I would definitely say communication. Without them communicating what’s going on with them, we’re pretty much left in the dark. They really need to communicate in class, too. If they have questions or are struggling, please ask for help. We provide tutoring here, so don’t drop out because you don’t think to ask for help! Use the resources we have.
What’s your favorite student success story from your time at RSI?
Quite a few people come to mind. There was one gentleman who cancelled with us twice. He wasn’t getting support from his parents, but he finally did what he had to do. I think he got a job to help with payments. Now he’s graduated and working with a partner. They own their own company and he’s doing fantastically. He came in one day and told us that if we hadn’t encouraged him, he wouldn’t be in the situation he’s in right now. He thanked us, and it was really great.
What advice do you have for students who may be considering attending RSI?
My advice would be to stay focused. Try not to let personal things get in the way of the rest of your life. Don’t think you can’t do it. Stay motivated and get through it. It’s not two or four years of college, it’s six, nine months at the most [depending on your program], and it will fly by. Try to follow through with it. If you work hard and are dedicated, you’ll come out in such a good position. You’ve got to be willing to put in the hard work to have a good future. You can’t just show up, go through the motions and expect to be successful.