So, this admission/yield season is drawing to a close and admission staff look forward to reaquainting themselves with their families. My time as a blogger in this space is also drawing nigh. As a result, I thought this might be an appropriate time to hand out some end of the year thank you’s.
To the admission counselors: You showed up at our schools at 8:00 am on Monday mornings, jet-lagged from a flight. Some of you newbies even took red eye flights. Adorable. You answered admission questions from our most modest scholars with the full knowledge that this was information that would never be applicable to that student. You know who I mean, right? It’s the student skipping pre-calc (a class in which they have a D) to show up for a visit from Duke to ask about the engineering program. It reminds me of a saying about missing the forest for the trees. And despite our best efforts from this side of the desk you were still peppered with questions like: Where is Boston College Located? Do you have a good psychology program? Can I stable my horse on campus? Most importantly, you realized you were dealing with high school students who are still very much becoming. You recognized that the hopes and dreams of our students were fragile and you handled them with care. Thank you for reading between the lines of letters of recommendation and understanding what we meant by “His best academic work is ahead of him” or “This student is extremely influential” or “His success is not of the traditional variety” and “He has a strong, experiential understanding of electricity.” From the visits in the fall, the review in the winter and the yield in the spring you represented your school with class and professionalism. We noticed and it was appreciated. You picked up the phone to collaborate as we advocated for students in February and you picked up that same phone in April when disgruntled parents called to inform you that you had made a grave mistake in not admitting the next global leader — the same one who happens to be residing under their roofs while relentlessly pursuing mediocrity.
To the Deans of Enrollment Management and the Directors of Admission: As the architects of the enrollment models and the keepers of the financial aid matrix, you guard the gate. Guarding the matrix? That last statements sounded vaguely Dungeon and Dragonsish. Like the evil legions of the Dark Empire of Karkoth marching against the fragile League of Narath. Anyway….. Dean and Directors, your job is particulalarly tricky because everyone, from the Provost to the Director of Residential Life, is depending on your results. You’re asked to treat application numbers and yield results like rocket science when it more closely resembles a game of Craps. You could take the humanity out of it. You could rely solely on numbers and become totally self-serving. But you don’t. You approach your job with an intentionality that considers every individual applying to your institution. You balance the needs of your institution while keep your fingers squarely on the pulse of national admission trends.
I continue to appreciate the spirit of collaboration that I feel defines this business. The investment in finding common ground between all of the stakeholders in this process is time well spent. I continue to see evidence that we are all, Counselors, Directors and Deans, cut from the same cloth. It is also apparent that most of us got into this business for the same reason — to get paid. So, so paid. And I mean filthy, smell-like-the-vault rich….Wait, what was I saying? Right, similar reasons. We care about the next generation. We care about education. We love our alma maters. Either we treasure our undergraduate experience or we want to make sure that this incoming class has a better chance. We want to make sure that we don’t abandon a generation of people that represent the future. That is the commonaility whether you charted this course from the start, or you accepted a position as a student intern, fell, hit your head and woke up five years later with a stack of applications in front you. Continue to look for the common ground.
And if any of this feels like pandering I do have some waitlist conversations I’d like to have.
By Jeff Morrow