We Admit It! The time for Early Decision Committee has arrived. Committee is when our entire dean staff gathers to discuss our many talented Early Decision applicants, and to build the Class of 2021 one student at a time. These meetings feature meaningful, thought-provoking and engaging discussions covering all parts of the application review process.
Throughout these discussions, we do our best to give our readers an inside look into what actually goes on in our committee room. What questions are raised? What topics are posed? What stands out to committee members? To help answer such questions, we want to pull back the curtain, and let you in on what we discuss and why we discuss it. So, with that, we present our first “Overheard in Committee” blog of the 2016-2017 admission cycle, brought to you by Associate Dean David Trott.
When it comes to Early Decision this year, some things have changed and some things have stayed the same. Our band of merry decision makers has finally hunkered down in our beige windowless decision making committee bunker replete with snack cart (the same as always), two large screen monitors (a change), and a great group of applicants (both a change and the same)!
One thing that hasn’t changed for us when reading applications is the significance of the pickle. No wait, that’s an old Arlo Guthrie reference, I can’t use that . . .
One thing that hasn’t changed for us when reading applications is the significance of the essay! Yes, much better . . .
Here’s what I overheard in committee the other day regarding an applicant’s essay: “I learned a lot about her sister, but nothing about her.” The essays are a big part of the application (some would say they’re Brobdingnagian) because they provide a platform for really getting to know applicants beyond the numbers presented on the transcript and test scores. Combine the essays with the extra-curricular activities and this is where we hope to find the zeitgeist of a student, their true essence, their raison d’etre, their defining moment or moments.
What many students struggle with when it comes to the essays is what’s beyond the story they tell us. How has that story impacted you? How are you different because of what you told us? Why was this story important enough for you to write about? We’ll often read wonderful stories about great experiences written in great detail and well-constructed, but lacking in expression. Remember that the essays written for us are not being graded like an English paper (well, okay, some of us are pretty strict when it comes to grammar and spelling), but graded more on the value added.
You may not think you have something special to write about, but you do. The topic itself is not what’s important, it’s what made it important to you that’s important. So write on, people! We can’t wait to learn more about who you are.
And if you’re looking to hear a great story over the Thanksgiving break, chances are if you turn your radio on at noon on Thursday somewhere along the dial you’ll find Arlo Guthrie’s classic song “Alice’s Restaurant” playing. Of course you could also just go to YouTube . . . Either way the committee and the entire admission office wishes everyone a wonderful holiday!
Associate Dean of Admission