The Evergreen State College has a wide variety of programs and pathways for students of every background and interest. Their faculty is hugely committed to helping each student’s dream of higher education a reality. Director of Admissions Wade Arave has been with Evergreen for three years and has loved serving the community as a college resource. His greatest drive is helping students see that college is more accessible than you might think and showing them that college truly can be for anyone.
Wade originally started out in pursuit of the arts. His greatest passion growing up was theater. “I started to perform when I was 12 and I never looked back,” Wade recalls. During his last three years of high school, he had the joy and fortune of living in England, where he was able to experience a lot of theater culture and see performing as more than just a dream. “It was a very supportive place for me to get into that,” he adds. “It made me realize that this is not only something I want to do but something I really can do.”
Wade found himself back in the States and graduated from Southern Utah University with a Bachelor’s degree with a directing emphasis. He began doing improv with an improv team in Utah with some of the people he went to college with. Wade had never thought he would do improv, but it turned out to be a wonderful fit for him. “My high school theater teacher was a professional improvisor and I thought he was nuts,” Wade recalls. “It turns out he knew what he was talking about and doing, and he gave me a very valuable skillset through improv that has continued.” In 2009, he and the improv team opened up their very own theater called Off the Cuff Comedy in Cedar City. The original members of the team are still working there.
After 10 years in improv, Wade found himself engaged and decided he wanted to switch to a more stable career. He began teaching theater at a high school in addition to doing improv before finally switching to teaching full-time. “I love the process of learning and educating and like to work with kids,” says Wade. “That was always kind of the direction I was headed anyway.” Wade began to make connections in the area with other teachers and professors, and eventually was asked to run some skills workshops at local universities. He found that the skills he had obtained in theater were very easily transferable to this kind of work. “We call it acting in theater, but call it presenting in the rest of the world,” Wade explains. “The name had changed, but the skill was there.”
This was one of the biggest draws Wade had to Evergreen. After working in admissions for seven years at four different universities, Wade stumbled upon an opening with Evergreen for a director of admissions position. He saw that Evergreen strives to connect related fields and concepts to help students transfer different skillsets to a variety of careers and possibilities. “My whole experience was taking something and finding the transferability inside that to make it work for me,” Wade says. “It has been cool to work for a school that deliberately does that.”
One of the other things Wade loves about working at Evergreen is the accessibility they have created with education. “The campus is really set up to remove barriers,” he explains. Students have access to a wide range of equipment and spaces to learn, grow and thrive. Seeing all of this in-person really helps students understand the amazing opportunities and options available to them at Evergreen, which is why Wade loves conducting campus tours. “They start to see themselves there and it is a very transformative experience,” he says. “It is such an important part of the process to get onto a campus and see if it is the right fit.”
For colleges like Evergreen, there is more to college life than academics. Evergreen is a community that helps spark people to uncover more about the world around them and about themselves. “Students discover and piece out their identity and are able to find more students like them,” Wade shares. “They can say ‘this is who I am, this is what I want to do,’ and connect with people that feel the same way.” This has been one of the most fulfilling parts of working in admissions, and Wade is always eager to work with the next group of students to watch the same magic unfold in them too.
No matter what students decide for themselves, Wade wants them to know that the Evergreen admissions team is here to help them. “Admissions is a resource, so if a student wants to go to college, I am here to help them get there, even if it isn’t Evergreen,” Wade says. Evergreen provides a plethora of opportunities and options that may not available elsewhere, and Wade is confident that there is something here for every person if they feel it is the right fit for them. He wants to be able to give students the insight they need to be successful as well as the assurance that college truly can be for anyone.
To learn more about options at Evergreen, contact the admissions team and see what they can do for you.