Transfer Student Finds Rewarding Experience in Student Ambassador Program

Neil VanHaaften
Neil VanHaaften

As a transfer accounting student, Neil VanHaaften, joined the Student Ambassador program at George Mason University School of Business to get know his peers and professors, especially because he was attending virtually for his first semester.

VanHaaften, who is a rising junior, enjoyed speaking with prospective students at the fall and spring premieres the most. “I loved attending these, as I truly think that Mason has a phenomenal framework in place and loved getting to speak about it and how I have used the various services offered to students. I think that it is different hearing about these services from a current student vs reading about them on a webpage, as it makes the benefits gained much more real and believable when it comes from a person/student rather than coming from a website,” says VanHaaften.

The Student Ambassador program, established in 2016, hires current students to help foster a connection with, and provide firsthand testimonials to those considering attending Mason. Student Ambassadors provide campus tours, lead panels at special events, and most importantly answer questions from prospective students.

Hearing a current student’s perspective can be more meaningful and often helpful when deciding where to go to college. “The most rewarding aspect is being in a position to help potential students get a head start on their career and education. I am in a position to make the transition process much easier and can help limit the stress of college that many first-year students feel by simply giving advice about good habits that they should start at the very beginning of their first semester. Ultimately, the most rewarding aspect is being in a position to help ease the transition and uncertainty that many students face,” says VanHaaften.

Asked what advise he has for freshmen and transfer students VanHaaften says “to ultimately find an organization system that helps manage the work of all your classes. Whether that be an online calendar, or a physical planner, write down everything that is due on any given week ahead of time, so you know how to manage your time heading into the week. Having an organizational system will save you time and help limit your anxiety. It will help keep you on track, and it will make your day-to-day life easier.”

“As a transfer student myself, I would also recommend transfer students should familiarize themselves with the numerous services offered by the school. You never know how they can help you and what you can gain from them. I was able to gain an internship for this summer at an accounting firm, solely due to all the help the School of Business Office of Career Service offered to me.”