Who are the Night Callers of Lee?
On Monday and Thursday nights at the Lee Admissions Building, phone wires are lit up with calls placed across the country.
Ten student workers, known as “night callers,” are busy ringing the phones of prospective students from a list of roughly 20,000 people.
Taylor Smith, assistant to the director of admissions and A-Force supervisor, said the school depends on these calls.
“A lot of times, this may be someone’s first point of contact with the school. So the night caller’s role is to initiate that conversation with a prospective student,” Smith said. “It’s kind of starting from square one, hoping that from there we get an applicant from them.”
Caroline Byrd, a sophomore music and worship major and admissions student worker, shared her own experience of over-the-phone confrontations with suspicious parents who question Lee’s “old-school” method of actually placing calls. And though conversations like these can be difficult to maneuver, Byrd enjoys rising to the challenge.
“I personally love hearing prospect reactions over the phone. Sometimes they are really happy you’re calling and other times they’re not,” Byrd said. “Especially when they’re not super willing, I have fun trying to talk them into the conversation. The most satisfying feeling is when by the end, they’re like ‘Oh yeah, I’m actually really interested in Lee now that we’ve had this conversation.’”
Byrd fondly recalled a 25-minute phone call she had with an overwhelmingly grateful prospect.
“What was so awesome about this conversation is that by the end she said ‘Man, I really loved getting to talk to you. It makes me less nervous about applying to the school. I kind of wish that I could just talk to you every time. You make me more willing to get to know about your university.’ It made me feel like I was doing my job correctly,” Byrd said.
These student workers primarily begin in the office as a night caller, and within one or two semesters climb their way up into other positions on A-Force, the student admissions team of 32 students.
Vice President for Enrollment Phil Cook has been working in Admissions for 20 years and said he finds a lot of joy in talking about the school.
“I LOVE telling the Lee story to prospective students and their families," Cook said. "I love seeing how students come to Lee and watch their lives be changed in a similar way that mine was.”
Dylan Souther, a sophomore business management major, has a whole semester of night calling under his belt—as well as a clear vision of the long-term effect something as minute as a phone call can have on students.
“Night calling gives me the opportunity to meet a person where they are and say ‘Lee has this and it would be great to join Lee’s community because you’re at this certain stage of your life,’” Souther said. “I definitely believe we are being used by God in these phone calls—they can totally shape a person’s life.”