How Athlete Alumni Bring Pride for Oberlin to Admissions

Admissions counselor and women’s lacrosse alumna Sydney Garvis poses at Oberlin’s admissions stand.

Courtesy of Sydney Garvis

Admissions counselor and women’s lacrosse alumna Sydney Garvis poses at Oberlin’s admissions stand.

Some people see student-athletes as the epitome of school spirit as they are responsible for representing their schools through competition. While this is true to an extent, competition also brings teammates closer together and allows student-athletes to develop a unique connection to the College. Oberlin’s strong athletic community has led numerous athletics alumni to work for the College as admissions counselors post-graduation, where they continue to foster school spirit.

Women’s lacrosse alumna Leah Crowther, OC ’21, feels honored to have been offered the opportunity to join the Office of Admissions, seeing Oberlin in a way she never thought possible. 

“Being an athlete was central to who I was at Oberlin,” Crowther said. “I have now met so many different people in the many corners of Oberlin, which made me realize how much we don’t know about as athletes.”

As a student, her knowledge beyond the scope of athletics was very limited, but now she experiences the whole of Oberlin with a similar sense of pride she felt out on the field. 

“I think something that’s really unique about Oberlin is that students are really excited to tell you why they love Oberlin,” she said. “Whenever anyone visits, current students are ecstatic to share their experiences. As an alum, I feel there’s a huge appreciation that comes from Oberlin that I didn’t realize people were missing out on at other schools.”

She cites her experience as a recent graduate as a factor in cultivating this appreciation, especially in comparison to other schools. 

“I’m just now having conversations with my high school friends about their experiences and learning how Oberlin is set apart from other institutions, especially others who pride themselves on liberal arts,” she said. “One such opportunity is research, something which I think prospective students don’t think to ask about. I love to shed light on these unknowns, and to teach prospective students the questions they should be asking in the admissions process.”

Having been introduced to the plethora of opportunities that Oberlin has to offer, Crowther uses her knowledge to fuel the decision-making process of student-athletes whose main interest isn’t their sport. 

“I feel very representative of those people,” she said. “I used to be just a representative of athletes, but now I get a lot more questions from academics to campus safety to specific departmental opportunities.”

Sydney Garvis, OC ’18, also a women’s lacrosse alumna, reiterates the excitement that comes with working in admissions and getting to know every facet of what the school has to offer. A lot of pride comes with experiencing it firsthand. 

“I was really excited to enjoy the school in a different capacity,” Garvis said. “Being both an athlete and a student takes a lot of time, especially with the inconsistency in my schedule. I work outside the 9–5, but it’s still nice to have a separation between extracurriculars and school.” 

School pride is a prominent component of her job, similar to how it was as an athlete. Although in different capacities, both admissions and sports have allowed her to spread her love for the school and what it means to be an Obie.

“The pride I had as a student was very limited to the team and going to other schools to represent who we were,” Garvis said. “It’s really so much fun to go to a high school and talk to students who are excited about Oberlin. We get to put them in touch with students who are already here, who are all ecstatic to speak about their experiences.”

For Judd Wexler, OC ’21, working in the Office of Admissions was an integral part of his College experience. Since his first year, he has worked in a variety of positions, including admissions ambassador, interviewer, senior fellow, and now a counselor. 

“I like to meet prospective families and learn about why they choose Oberlin,” he said. “There’s the inviting, welcoming community that makes Oberlin, Oberlin. It’s nice to pitch that to people.”

Having been a committed member of the bowling and fencing club teams, Wexler takes pride in teaching prospective students about opportunities they have to stay active in ways they may not have anticipated.

“I think it’s really nice to talk to students who want to stay physically active and compete at a high level without being on a varsity team,” he said. “In Oberlin, we are encouraged to try things out that we may end up loving.”

Wexler had joined the bowling class his first year, encouraged by his Peer Advising Leader. 

“The class was taught by [Thomas] Reed, a longtime faculty member who taught us life lessons through bowling,” he said. “Even the classes give the ability to stay active without the competitiveness. I also got an opportunity to meet other athletes who just want to be more active in that capacity.”

Whether a varsity or club athlete, the Oberlin athletics alumni who are now admissions ambassadors take pride in sharing what Oberlin means to them. They speak about the opportunities that the College has to offer and take part in the community as well. They continue to be important representatives of our school, whether that opportunity comes on the field, in a bowling alley, or in the office.