Student Ambassador program

You might have noticed this banner:

This fall College Confidential is piloting a Student Ambassador program. This is a paid position for college and high school students who would like to develop skills in content creation, social media, digital marketing and community engagement. The commitment is 5-20 hours a month for 6 months. Hours are flexible and entirely online.

College Confidential staff have developed projects for Ambassadors to complete. Examples include:

  • Write an article sharing how they approached the college application process.
  • Publish a list of schools they visited and what they thought about each campus.
  • Create a video about their college to post on social media.
  • Answer questions on the forums about their major.

If you or someone you know might be interested, use this form to apply. We do require a resume and will interview potential candidates. (The application form closes tomorrow, but we plan to have another round in the spring.)

Since this is our initial class of Student Ambassadors, it’ll be a learning experience for us all. We’d love your feedback. What projects do you think would be interesting for a Student Ambassador?

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Application open to high school and college students until August 16th, 11:59 pm only.

Local time? Eastern? Pacific?

One day to respond? You might want to extend this to the end of the week.

I suggested that too, but we got hundreds of applications from the banner alone. :exploding_head: It’s going to take some time to select ambassadors and classes are starting soon.

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How much are the Student Ambassadors going to be paid?

Regarding the videos, are you trying to have a CC TikTok account?

Lots of this stuff parent posters have been doing for free for years. Students won’t do it out of the goodness of their hearts unless they get paid?

I believe it’s minimum wage. It’s also limited to 5-20 hours a month, so this won’t be more than a little walking around money. :wink:

Good questions! Fundamentally, College Confidential has two separate audiences. One is high school students who want to get into competitive schools. The other is parents who got involved in CC for one reason or another and enjoy participating. (This is a simplification, of course. The reality is everyone’s story is different. But simplifications do help us understand group dynamics.)

In my opinion, CC has the potential to be a resource for all sorts of students planning for their education. But over the years, we’ve become more and more defined as the place to go during admission season for very competitive schools. Students who don’t care about that particular niche tend to go elsewhere for information about planning for higher education. (This includes my own college-age son, by the way.)

Enter Student Ambassadors. One way to think of the program is that it’s a sort of focus group to help us understand what students are looking for from CC. We’re specifically looking for students with a wide array of interests and backgrounds. As we work with the ambassadors to help them complete the tasks they are perusing, we can learn what works and what doesn’t from the perspective of students. With something like a representative sample, we can look to change CC so that it works better for students without losing sight of our current strengths.

So if a student ambassador is interested, we might start a TicTok account. It might become an effective marketing tool. Or we might find out that it’s not helpful. Either way, that’s a useful thing to know and will help us focus on the right things.

Since I’m a community manager, I’m excited to learn what we can do to help students participate on the site. I believe there are many students who would love to share their experience and knowledge on the forum. But there are barriers to entry that we don’t fully understand. The Student Ambassador program can help us to learn what we might do to break down those barriers.

By the way, we don’t think paid content is necessarily better than unpaid. In my opinion, the opposite is true. I would consider the Student Ambassador program to be a failure if all we get is some extra content. It will be a success if we learn more about how students interact with CC. Ideally it will help us connect people with knowledge and experience planning for college connect with people who can use that insight.


Why is it reasonable to pay students who may participate the few hours a month that you mention but the mods remain unpaid?

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Won’t the minimum wage depend on where the Ambassador is physically located? (Same as sales tax for online sales was determined to be the delivery location.) You will be paying widely varying amounts, then, according to this minimum wage chart:

You should pay all Ambassadors the highest state minimum wage there is among all the states.

Or by city! I know Portland has a higher minimum wage than Maine does.

Good point. The highest minimum wage (be it a city/municipality or state) is the wage ALL the Ambassadors should be paid. I bet CC never even thought about this issue.

That still begs the question of why should the Ambassadors be paid, when mods and Forum Champions aren’t. And won’t there need to be even more mods to babysit the increased student engagement?

There was a call for more mods sometime back. Whatever happened with that? I still see only 3 active mods.

Also, more than 70 members have indicated interest in a politics/light moderation forum. Is that enough interest for CC?


Since many of these students are competitive by nature, why not instead of paying them, set up some fun contest for participation in some sort of meaningful way.

That’s an excellent question. Fundamentally, we see this as an opportunity for students to get some job experience. They will go through an interview process, meet with a supervisor to plan their upcoming tasks, manage their schedules to do the work they committed to, and be evaluated based on what they produce. As a student, I worked summers for the National Weather Service and that experience uniquely prepared me for my first full time job.

Ideally, we’ll also get some excellent content. But the program will be a success if it helps us open some doors that aren’t currently open to us. We’re calling the program Student Ambassadors for just that reason. If we can introduce CC to students who don’t know about it or aren’t currently interested in visiting, that would be an amazing result. If current students at a school can share insight about their college with potential applicants, it would benefit many people.

As it happens, that did come up during planning. We’re planning on paying California minimum wage for that very reason. :wink:

Since this is a work situation, employees will be responsible for the Student Ambassadors activities.

I’m going to post a call for nominations next week. If we have enough candidates, I’d like to run an election the week after that. Honestly, this should have happened earlier. Hopefully we’ll have one or two more mods by the end of the month.

It is! I’m formally announcing the politics forum on Monday. (And I suppose I just informally announced it now.)



That makes sense. It wouldn’t make sense to have volunteers (mods) in charge of paid employees. I’m thinking there will be a separate section for the SAs to do their thing to attract students, while being supervised by Sorin.

@CC_Jon - My daughter (Junior, NYC public high school( noticed this right away and submitted her application before the deadline. Can you advise on the timeline for reviewing applications and reaching out to high school students for interviews? Thank you.

Please thank your daughter for her interest in becoming a Student Ambassador. We received hundreds of applications and narrowed the pool down based on applications and resumes. The first round of interviews start this week. I don’t know whether all the invitations to interview have gone out yet, however.

We were surprised with both the volume and quality of applications. Because we want to make sure the program provides value to the students and because we’ve never done this before, the first class will be fairly small. If all goes well, we’re hoping to invite more students to apply next spring. So if your daughter isn’t selected this year, she should have more chances in the future.


Thanks so much. She was contacted back on September 2nd and since then has been diligently exchanging emails trying to find a mutually convenient interview slot - which I know is tricky since all the students are back in school and sports and I am sure your team has been overloaded with emails. Are there any additional ways to schedule an interview (e.g calendly or google form) or should she just continue with the email exchange? She is still really excited about the opportunity.

Actually - she was able to get something scheduled. All good, thanks for offering this opportunity!