Holding almost 15 years of experience working in financial aid, Rafko set his sights on maintaining a directorial position after working as an associate director of financial aid at the University of Michigan-Dearborn.
“I’m on the other side of the house now,” Ryan Rafko, new director of Admissions and Guidance Services, stated in regards to his new position.
Rafko is familiar with MCCC and its student services and campus.
“I actually was employed by the college (MCCC) previously,” he said. “I worked in the Financial Aid office for a little over four years.”
Rafko stated he was proud to not only be familiar with his financial aid background, but his familiarity with positions in higher education as well.
“I graduated from the community college. I worked for the community college previously. I’m from the community, so being close to home is a huge selling point,” Rafko stated.
Rafko earned his Associate of Science at MCCC before going on to earn a bachelor’s degree at University of Toledo, majoring in marketing and professional sales.
Explaining his experience in financial aid, Rafko realized the impact working in that field had on himself and students.
“There’s such a high percentage of students that utilize some type of financial aid to help pay for school,” he said. “So knowing that you’re a big piece of that turns the job into something that you’re more passionate about.”
Rafko applied for the position in early June and officially started working on Sept. 30.
“I had aspirations to move into a director-level position. I always thought it would be a director of financial aid. But I figured this was a unique opportunity to come back to the college and the community.”
Although the new position has been a bit of a change from his previous experience, it’s still important to Rafko.
“This is a unique position. We’re Admissions and Guidance Services, so we’re involved in the recruitment and getting them admitted. But the guidance piece is also the Academic Advising piece of helping students figure out their path and move them on to graduating with their associate’s, moving them into a transfer program, or any of the current occupational programs we have here. It’s all tied together.”
Rafko also cited departments and offices he was familiar with from his time working in MCCC’s Financial Aid Office.
“I worked very closely with Admissions, the Academic Advising Offices, and the Registrar’s Office. Those are all offices I worked really closely with, so I knew this would be a position that met the goals of a director-type position and had involvement with the same kind of offices I had worked with my entire career.”
For goals he desired to accomplish while holding the position, Rafko said that his biggest goal is to familiarize himself with the process as a whole.
Rafko said he wanted to educate himself on the different programs MCCC offers in order to help students choose the academic path that is right for them.
“I want to understand my office and its functionality and how its processes work,” he said. “I need to understand how my office coordinates with others on campus.”
Rafko said he would like to work with senior administration and develop other opportunities for students once the acclimation to his new office was settled.
“This is definitely somewhere I see myself being for the long run. It’s exciting to be back on campus and I see this as being a great long-term fit.”