by Antonio Coleman - July 30, 2012
Like American pioneer John Chapman’s love of planting apple orchards, Ferris State University Admissions Counselor Tyrone Collins is collaborating with southeast Michigan schools to spread the university’s vision.
“I like to say I’m like Johnny Appleseed,” Collins said of the skilled nurseryman who grew trees and supplied apple seeds to pioneers in the Midwest. “My job is to spread the word of Ferris wherever I go.”
Collins, whose territory includes Wayne and Monroe counties and the state of Ohio, works with incoming students in Big Rapids as well as his Detroit-area office at Wayne County Community College’s University Center.
“I talk to anybody,” said Collins, a Monroe, La. native who spent the majority of his life growing up in Southeast Michigan. “I talk at middle schools, high schools, community colleges, civic groups. ... To anybody who wants to learn about Ferris State University, there I go.”
Working between Ferris’ main campus location and WCCCD’s Harper Woods site, Collins said an important responsibility in off-campus admissions counseling is networking with school administrators. Collins noted that his profession, as an admissions counselor, necessitates constant collaboration between potential students and administrators in achieving a common goal of success.
“It’s about service,” Collins said. “I try to provide them the ‘Ferris service.’ If they want some help in regards to coming to Ferris, I will do what I can. But it’s a two-way street, and they have to help me help them in order for us both to be successful.”
Ferris established an educational partnership in 2011 with WCCCD’s University Center, which offers select Ferris programs, including bachelor’s degrees in Criminal Justice and Information Security and Intelligence.
Hired at Ferris as a financial aid specialist in the loans division in 1979, Collins became an admissions counselor in 1984. Since then, he has learned that successful recruitment also stems from developing partnerships with graduates.
“It’s all about advertising and getting the word out by working with alumni and remembering the good times of being at Ferris State University,” said Collins, who also serves as advisor of the Wade McCree Incentive Scholarship, Compact Scholar for Detroit Public Schools students.
Collins, who earned a Bachelor of Science in Public Administration from Ferris in 1977, helped organize Ferris’ annual Martin Luther King celebration in 2006 with the Office of Multicultural Student Services.
Though he hopes to see a greater effort by minority alumni to help increase diversity in legacy students, Collins said his greatest motivation in counseling incoming Bulldogs comes from the university’s mission to prepare students for successful careers.
“I do what I do mainly because I know that Ferris works if the individual gives Ferris the time and opportunity to help them become successful,” Collins said. “Especially among minority students, you will find a since of maturity develop.”
Having established a career focused on Ferris students for more than 30 years, Collins – who encourages students to check out The Rock for “the best food in town” – said he sees the university only growing because of its emphasis on career building.
“Ferris’ future is about developing more people who are hands-on and can enter the
job market,” Collins said. “Whenever I see a person I’ve helped who has graduated
from Ferris, the first questions I ask them are ‘Are you working?’ and ‘Are you doing
well?’ and the answer is yes.”
Antonio Coleman is a News Services student writer in University Advancement and Marketing.