RAVA volunteers play a key role in Rice’s excellence

Over the last decade, Rice has expanded its reach dramatically and has become more selective and diverse thanks to alumni, parents and friends who give their time to Rice Alumni Volunteers for Admission (RAVA). These volunteers are key to maintaining a stellar applicant pool that brings the best students to Rice and to ensuring that applicants have a great experience every step of the way.

Indeed, admission interviews are a valuable part of the application process for prospective students. The interviews provide the university a chance to get to know individuals beyond their accomplishments and test scores, while giving applicants the chance to ask questions and learn about what makes Rice great.

RAVA volunteers are frequently the first passionate, knowledgeable Rice representative that students meet on their journey from high school to O-Week and beyond.

Each year, hundreds of RAVA volunteers meet with prospective students across the globe to ensure that Rice continues to attract the best and brightest incoming students. They provide the invaluable service of giving students an “inside” view of Rice through their own experience as a student and show how Rice has shaped their lives as alumni. Volunteers also provide valuable insight to the university about prospective students.

RAVA volunteers share the message of Rice’s excellence far and wide, in 52 U.S. states and territories and in 29 countries outside of the U.S.

Shan McDonell ’12 enjoys the chance to connect with the new generation of students who aspire to take part in the unique Rice experience and make their own impact. “Rice gave me so much in the four years that I was there, so I really just enjoy doing whatever I can to give back,” he says. “Additionally, the students who I've interviewed are all so incredibly impressive.”

RAVA recently welcomed new associate director of admission Taren N. Smith, who comes to Rice from Penn State and is excited to work with this robust volunteer group.

“The Office of Admission is incredibly grateful for the amount of time RAVA volunteers dedicate to assisting our department,” says Smith. “From conducting interviews to attending college fairs and contacting admitted students, we are able to connect with significantly more students because of the efforts of RAVA.”

To learn more about how you can volunteer for RAVA, please visit the new member sign-up page


  • RAVA has more than 1,200 active alumni volunteers
  • 3,605 interviews were conducted by RAVA volunteers for applicants entering the fall 2016 class
  • 506 of these interviews took place over Skype
  • RAVA volunteers can be found in 52 U.S. states and territories and 29 countries outside of the U.S.
  • Major countries outside the U.S. in which RAVA volunteers reside:
    • United Kingdom
    • China
    • Singapore

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