At 6 a.m., Admission Counselor Kyle Digiandomenico’s alarm goes off.
He starts getting ready for the day.
A freshly brewed, hand-pressed cup of coffee awaits him after his morning shower.
By 7 a.m., he is out the door, ready to make lasting impressions at the high schools that he visits.
This routine becomes a daily occurrence for Digiandomenico during the fall semester as Admissions pushes for recruitment. This year’s goal for Digiandomenico, as he travels to different high schools in his Allegheny and northern Washington County territories, is 100 student deposits.
Upon leaving his apartment in Waynesburg, Digiandomenico knew well in advance what his day would hold. He books his visits with each school weeks in advance so interested students can be prepared for his arrival.
Each morning during his commute, Digiandomenico listens to Mikey and Big Bob, two of his favorite radio hosts on 96.1 KISS FM, to get prepared for the day. But that’s not the only thing that makes his mornings meaningful.
“I always say a quick prayer before any visit or [college] fair,” he said. “Mainly because I want God to use me to reach the students he wants at Waynesburg. I try and have a positive and happy attitude every day. It’s easy when I love Waynesburg so much. I know there’s so much to offer to students here and I’m always eager to show them that.”
Digiandomenico has shown his faith not only in his weekly visits to church but also in his daily life. He treats everyone as he would like to be treated.
The 2015 graduate of Waynesburg University makes his way to his first stop of the day, Carlynton High School, roughly an hour from campus.
Digiandomenico was able to meet with three interested students, one of which was interested in studying psychology – the same major he studied years before during his undergraduate studies.
Digiandomenico’s ability to relate to these high school students is something that sets him apart from others who also try to recruit students to come to their schools.
“So much of my life is centered around relationships. I think relationships are key. That is something that really helps me in my work. Students want to feel connected and unique when they look at schools,” said Digiandomenico. “I really try and build a personal relationship with every student I meet and work with. Through that relationship, I can help them see if Waynesburg University is right for them or not. If it’s not right for them, I want to help them find the place that is. If it is right for them, then I want to see them through.”
These relationships that Digiandomenico builds with students do not stop after they are accepted. They continue through their time at Waynesburg. It isn’t uncommon to find Digiandomenico eating lunch throughout the year with students who came to Waynesburg partially due to his efforts.
In between his visits, Digiandomenico makes his way to Starbucks any chance he gets, as it gives him the fuel to keep going. The coffee enthusiast that he is, Digiandomenico has maintained the illustrious rank of Gold Card member at the chain.
His stops at Starbucks provide more than just coffee, though. This gives him the chance to make up some of the work he wouldn’t be able to get done otherwise.
His second stop of the day was South Fayette High School. This visit was different, as he wasn’t meeting with students directly.
Digiandomenico set up a table outside of the cafeteria – some high schools find this a better way to engage with students. However, Digiandomenico was quick to point out that because students have a limited time to eat lunch, college searching isn’t on their priority list.
With a Waynesburg tablecloth set up and some packets of information ready, Digiandomenico was eager and willing to meet students.
However, not everything goes according to plan. Sometimes no students show up at all. This was the case today.
“It can be discouraging sometimes when no one shows interest,” said Digiandomenico. “You always want to meet with 10-15 kids at every visit, but that’s not always the case.”
This didn’t damper Digiandomenico’s spirits by any means. He always looks for the good in every situation. Stemming back to the idea of relationships, there are others that Digiandomenico can build on with each visit, even if they aren’t students.
“I equally enjoy meeting the guidance counselor or secretary and continuing that relationship,” he said.
By his final visit of the day, Digiandomenico is well past tired, but still has work to do. Spotify becomes his savior, as it gives him the ability to listen to the music of his Savior. It’s a change up from the music he listens to from the morning, but it gives him the much-needed afternoon pick-me-up.
While at Mount Lebanon High School, Digiandomenico was able to meet with a few students, one of whom was already deposited and ready to come to Waynesburg in Fall 2018.
However, not every student can sit down and decide one day that Waynesburg is the right choice for them. Not all students have the support or funding to go to college. Digiandomenico said this is the hardest part of his job, but in return, also the most rewarding.
“Sometimes hearing the different baggage that students and families bring in to the college process is really hard to hear,” said Digiandomenico. “Every student is coming from a different background and some students have really tough stories to hear. Some students don’t even have families who support them along the process. They don’t know where to go, where to turn or even what the next step is. For me, hearing that sometimes is a little difficult.”
Digiandomenico wants to be that beacon of hope in these students lives and show them that with a little help, they too can be joining Waynesburg the next year.
“Something that always outweighs seeing all of that struggle is during matriculation and seeing some of those kids that you worked with for eight to ten months along the process walking across that stage,” said Digiandomenico. “These are the kids that say, ‘I’m not going to be able to come to college, I won’t be able to afford it, it’s not going to be a reality since I don’t have the support,’ and then seeing them walk across the stage – that makes it all worth it.”
After Digiandomenico wraps up his final visit, he makes his way back to the office in Waynesburg to do some more work until
5:30 p.m. With night class Wednesday nights, as Digiandomenico works towards his MBA in Market Development, he doesn’t get home until after 10 p.m.
Before he heads to bed each night, he reminisces about the day’s victories and is truly proud of what he has done no matter how big or small the accomplishment was. He continues to have hope for every student that looks into attending Waynesburg.
“My goal is to lead them to Waynesburg so God can work on their hearts and make them better people; people who go into the world and make a difference through their professions,” said Digiandomenico.
The next morning, he goes through the same routine: wake up, make some coffee and head out the door.