Matt Proto discusses past experiences and plans for Colby


Matt Proto

Echo: What are your initial impressions of Colby and of Maine in general?

Matt Proto: It is clear that Colby’s community is one of its most defining features. From President Greene’s enthusiastic leadership to faculty who value working with dynamic students to alumni who are making a positive impact, the strong sense of community permeates throughout the College. Colby’s commitment to excellence and diversity within the framework of a liberal arts experience offers community members the opportunity for both an intimate and expansive educational experience. Colby’s location in Central Maine enhances its sense of community. Colby students, faculty, and staff have access to a beautiful landscape, recreational and outdoor activities, and welcoming people. Few institutions can claim the benefit of being located within a short driving distance of the ocean, lakes, mountains and a major city. 

E.: Would you discuss your life before working in admissions a bit? Where did you go to college, and what did you major in?

M.P.: I was raised in Hamden, CT, and I attended Notre Dame High School in West Haven. I then attended Yale University where I was a history major, a President’s Public Service Fellow, and a First-Team All-Ivy League offensive lineman. I continued my education at Wesleyan University where I received a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies. I then completed a doctorate in educational leadership at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

E.: What steps eventually led you to decide to work in admissions?

M.P.: My interest in college admissions began during my college search process. As a high school student, I was intrigued by how and why institutions resonated with me. The delivery and content of most group information sessions and tours were similar, yet I left each campus visit feeling as though each school had its own personality. Throughout my undergraduate years, I continued to think about the contributing factors that led to my enrollment at Yale University. The summer before my senior year I was offered the opportunity to work in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions and I eagerly accepted. I led campus tours, conducted prospective student interviews, and delivered group information sessions. I spoke with hundreds of prospective students and families and enjoyed every minute of [it]. This experience led me to conclude that admissions was the field in which I wanted to pursue a career and make a positive impact.    

E.: Would you discuss your work at Stanford University? What were some of the policies you implemented there and what were their effects?

M.P.: I currently serve as assistant dean of admission at Stanford University. I am responsible for leading the marketing and communications team while working collaboratively with campus partners to effectively highlight the undergraduate experience. Our team oversees admission websites, publications, videos, letters, social media, emails and several programs. Last year, we launched the Stanford admission blog, released a new website, and implemented various outreach campaigns. Our team worked with staff members and the broader Stanford community to ensure students understood not only the university’s offerings, but also its culture. For example, we worked together to enhance the Admit Weekend experience for admitted students and families. The weekend includes nearly 100 events showcasing academic, residential, and extracurricular experiences. The collaborative work of the admission and financial aid staff and the ongoing support of several campus partners led to the highest yield in Stanford’s history.

E.: What would you say the overarching goals of Colby’s admissions policy are?

M.P.: Our goal will be to enhance the excellence and diversity (broadly defined) of Colby. With this in mind, our team will work together to identify, select, and enroll talented students who bring experiences and perspectives that will add to the community.

E.: Do you think our current financial aid policy is efficient? Who does it target and who do you think it should target?

M.P.: Due to my ongoing commitments at Stanford University, I have not had the opportunity to conduct a thorough analysis of Colby’s current financial aid policies. I look forward to performing a detailed analysis and to working with the financial aid staff at Lunder House and the members of the Student Financial Services team.

E.: Are there any aspects of Colby’s current admissions or financial aid policy that you would like to change? If so, what do you think the lasting effects of these changes will be on the Colby community and on the students who apply here?

M.P.: It is very important that Colby continue to broaden its outreach. Because Colby is committed to diversity and college access, we must expose prospective students and families from various backgrounds and geographic locations to the College’s offerings and culture. Colby is an exceptional institution and more students need to become familiar with the distinctive aspects of the experience. This effort will not be undertaken solely by the admissions and financial aid team.

We are eager to enhance our work with campus partners and identify additional opportunities for cross-campus collaboration. Our goal is to enhance the excellence and diversity (broadly defined) of the College. Expanded outreach and strategic cross-campus collaboration are two components necessary to achieve that goal.

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