Still telling UWL’s story

Corey Sjoquist, UWL admissions director and recipient of the WACAC “Admissions Professional of the Year” award.

Sjoquist named ‘Admissions Professional of the Year’

UWL Admissions Director Corey Sjoquist has been sharing what he loves about UWL for more than 20 years.

As UWL campus Vanguard, he would take tour groups by Wentz Hall and tell the story of how he and eight others once used the windows to play “The Hollywood Squares” —  a tic-tac-toe game show that started in the 1960s. He always wished those tours would last a little longer. He hoped that group following him around campus would see through his stories what made UWL so special.

Sjoquist hasn’t grown tired of sharing why UWL is the right fit. Now the longest serving admissions director in the UW System, Sjoquist’s role has expanded to sharing the story of the admissions profession in general.

He is a resource for new admissions directors and to young people exploring the field. His support of the profession is one of the reasons Sjoquist received the Wisconsin Association for College Admissions Counseling (WACAC) “Admissions Professional of the Year” award at the WACAC conference in Appleton in May.

“There is no major that leads directly to working in admissions, so we have to be thinking about how we help graduates — even our UWL grads — realize that working in admissions is a great opportunity,” says Sjoquist.

One of UWL’s current Admissions staff members initially came to Sjoquist seeking information about the field.

Luke Thimmesch, associate student service coordinator in Admissions, says his high school guidance counselor pointed him to Sjoquist as a resource. Thimmesch describes his initial conversation with Sjoquist as “encouraging and supportive.” Sjoquist was down-to-earth and spoke to him like a peer, he recalls.

Eventually, after earning his degree and experience in the field, Thimmesch landed a job in UWL Admissions with Sjoquist as his supervisor.

“He is what I hoped he would be. He is very supportive,” says Thimmesch. “He really gives us free rein to be creative and come up with new ideas.”

Sjoquist has also been supportive to other admissions professionals in the UW System. He is often tapped to focus more broadly how the System as a whole can continue to recruit strong students.

Admissions professionals face some unified challenges, particularly as technology evolves, says Sjoquist.

With the large amount of information prospective students receive from colleges, it’s a continual challenge to streamline that information and make it easy to comprehend. That way students know they are making the best possible decision, says Sjoquist. Also, this generation of students is accustomed to getting quick responses to questions through technology, so admissions offices need to be able to be responsive through a variety of channels, including texting and social media. They need to do all of this while continuing to effectively build relationships with students in meaningful ways as they traditionally have.

But, despite the technological changes at its core, admissions work is still about interacting with students and families. It’s still about helping prospective students understand the story of a particular school and why it might be the right fit. And it still gives Sjoquist that same satisfaction that it did more than 20 years ago as he took tour groups around the UWL campus.

About Corey Sjoquist

  • Graduated from UWL with a degree in mass communications in 1996 and a master’s degree in college student development and administration (now called student affairs administration) in 2003.
  • Started working in Admissions as a UWL freshman entering paper applications into the computer system. He was also a student Vangaurd.
  • After graduation, Sjoquist climbed the career ladder from an Admissions counselor to coordinator of high school relations to operations manager to assistant director. Sjoquist became UWL’s director of Admissions in June 2012.

Alumni connection

Corey Sjoquist has many relatives who are also UWL graduates. His three sisters attended UWL: Monica Dinauer, Molly Olson, Maggie Wilson. He sees the valuable connection between current students and alumni. That’s one of the reasons he joined the UWL Alumni Association Board. He recently finished nine years on the board where he served one year as president. “I never realized that I’d meet so many dedicated individuals who love UWL … from different generations and experiences,” he says. “It’s this one institution that ties everyone together.”

The Award

The Admissions Professional of the Year honors college/university admission professionals who exemplify excellence and dedication to serving the needs of students in the transition from high school to college.