Hannah Richards, Reporter
If you’re looking for the king of Instagram captions, look no further. If you’re looking for a man who has a healthy obsession with Lord of the Rings, you’re in the right place. But, aside from those things, and mattering most of all, if you’re looking for a man of deep character rooted in the Lord, and who passionately focuses both on his job at Mississippi College and on pouring into the people around him, then Kyle Brantley is the man to know.
As the current Director of Undergraduate Admissions, and a former full-time Admissions Counselor, Brantley has had the opportunity to touch many lives—both those of students he has recruited and mentored, as well as co-workers he leads and pours into on a daily basis.
Brantley entered MC as a freshman in 2003 and during his four years at the institution was involved in almost every student organization. He served as a student Senator, an Admissions Office Scout, was appointed to Mortar Board as a senior, and was incredibly active in the Baptist Student Union. In 2007 he graduated with a degree in Communication and later would return to receive his MBA.
During his senior year, Brantley worked in the Admissions office as a student worker, and it was here that he realized he wanted use his incredible passion for people as an Admissions Counselor. He interviewed at the end of his senior year and was offered the position as a recruiter for Texas, Louisiana, and the Delta. Two years later, he was promoted to Assistant Director and continued to recruit students from Florida.
In 2010, after graduating again with his MBA, Brantley was again promoted to Director of Undergraduate Admissions, a position he has kept for the last five years. When questioned about what that job has looked like for him, he was quick to gush and say, “You know you have a great job when you wake up every morning and look forward to going in to work. It’s been that way for the last eight and a half years. I am so blessed that I get to work at a place that I love and that has had such an eternal impact on my life.”
Kyle may praise the school and the department, but those he works with are quick to do the same. It’s those who work with him on a daily basis that appreciate him and his strengths so much. Michelle Ladner, 2014 graduate and second-year Admissions Counselor was quick to voice her opinion on having Brantley as her superior.
She said “Kyle is a fantastic boss, and has grown to be a good friend too. Not just for his witty puns and sarcastic humor, but making sure everything behind the scenes is going smoothly so we can do our job on the frontlines. You’ll never see Kyle without his yellow legal notepad of “lists” that need to be completed.”
It’s no wonder that Brantley carries a legal pad with him wherever he goes—with a expanded staff and an office in constant forward motion, it takes a master multi-tasker at the helm to keep it all straight.
Fortunately, they have Kyle in the Director’s chair. In addition to simply managing the minor chaos that Admissions occasionally is, he also has implemented many changes that have revolutionized the department. So, while Brantley expresses much gratitude over what Mississippi College has done for him, the school can see a marked difference in their recruitment since his implementation as Director.
Over the last four years, the number of campus visits has increased by one hundred percent. In the last year alone, these visits have increased almost twenty percent. In addition, the department has created a robust social media presence from scratch, having a measured impact on the numbers of students that come through the doors of the Admissions Office every year.
When it comes to training and hiring, there has been an expanded period of training for those hired as counselors, creating personnel and staff that are incredibly knowledgeable about the position they are stepping into. In the last seven years, Admissions has reached record breaking enrollment every single year—a huge feat for a school with the size and academic structure of Mississippi College.
So much of that growth has to do with vision—something that Brantley has a great deal of. When asked about what makes the Admissions office so special, he was quick to point to companies like Chick-fil-A or Disney who have set the bar high when it comes to pleasing all those they interact with.
In addition to looking at the way these companies operate, he also wants to mirror some of the things they offer, and (in traditional and fantastic Kyle Brantley sarcasm) informed the Collegian that his “next goal is to install a roller coaster that comes through our office and have free chicken biscuits all the time.” [The Collegian will keep the student body informed when this happens]
Clearly Brantley has been doing the “adult” thing pretty well lately, and when asked what advice he would like to extend to the generation that comes behind him, his advice was both simple, and heartfelt.
He said, “Be cognizant that you are constantly growing. Life is a journey and each experience molds you into the person you are today. In the moment, we may not be able to see the benefit of the season of life we are in, but looking back over time we can see the purpose of the joys and trials we’ve walk through and how they’ve shaped us. The good news is that you get to choose how these things mold you. Choose wisely.”