Thursday, January 22, 2009

I have lost my voice, but not my mind

As the title implies, I have lost a bit of my voice today after conducting close to 30 interviews last weekend. This was the last chance to interview for regular decision. We conducted interviews in; Seattle, Portland, Santa Clara, Emeryville and Chicago, totaling 181 interviews. Go us! Most of my interviews were pretty good and it was a pleasure to meet all of you, but as I said, it is going to be tea for me for the next few days.

After conducting my 30 interviews, I realized that one questions kept coming up. Why did you choose Pitzer? So I figured I should tell my college search story. It is a perfect example of how a college visit can make or break a school, but might not always be a perfect representation of the school.

The first time I visited Pitzer I actually disliked the school because of the visit. In one day I visited Pomona, Claremont McKenna and Pitzer all in one day, in that order, doing tours and interviews at all three. Now that 5 years has past I can honestly admit that I was cranky by the time I got to Pitzer.

Once April 1 rolled around, I found out that I was accepted to my first choice school, which will remain nameless, and I was absolutely ecstatic. I went back and visited, for a second time, and completely changed my mind. The funny thing was that my first visit was what made me fall in love with the school and my second visit showed me that the school had everything I wanted, but wasn’t the right personality fit.

Since I then had no idea where I wanted to go, I started my search over again and came back to Pitzer for another visit. This time I saw everything I missed in my first visit. My second visit was on a gorgeous sunny day during the spring. It was right before finals, but students were still around campus and it felt like I had stepped onto the cover of a college guidebook.

I can still remember the exact moment I changed my mind about Pitzer. I was sitting on the mounds, the grassy area in the middle of campus, with three Pitzer students. One girl was outside tanning with a textbook almost as big as her head and two guys playing Frisbee. I jokingly turned to the girl and asked her why she had so much more work than the two guys. Before the girl could answer, one of the guys stopped and said, “No, I am in the middle of working on my thesis, but I just had to come outside and play 15 minutes of Frisbee.” Needless to say 15 minutes turned into half an hour, but then he went back inside, presumably to work on his thesis. After seeing this balance of work life and social life I stopped and looked around and realized that, without exception, every single person I could see was smiling. I figured if all these people can find a balance between work life and social life here and be this happy right before finals maybe I could be happy here too.

Once I got home, I started thinking about my visit and realized that I had floated between a number of different social groups and all of them were open. They all wanted to know my name, although some still called me prospie for convenience sake, don’t worry it is a term of endearment, they all wanted to know why I was interested in Pitzer and they all wanted to tell me about the school. No one was cliquey and everyone had positive things to say.

I was still nervous when I sent in my enrollment response card, this is the card you fill out saying what school you will attend, but from the moment I set foot on campus I knew I had made the right choice. I loved my college experience, obviously since I chose to remain at Pitzer after I graduated, and didn’t consider transferring once.

I hope my story is interesting. I know it sounds like something out of college book, but it really does happen from time to time. The message I want you to gain from this story, besides how awesome Pitzer is, is that sometimes you step onto a college campus and get that feeling that this place is home, but then you can still change your mind and other times you visit a school and since your timing is off you don’t get that feeling. Some people never get that feeling, but that doesn’t mean that the college you choose isn’t just as good a fit for you. So when you visit a college campus or are thinking back on your previous visits keep an objective frame of mind and know that there is more than one school that you would be happy at.

Now on to the winners of the Where in the World is Cecil the Sagehen. Drum roll please.

The winners are
Laura R
J Rice


If you guys could all email me your addresses, do not post them on the blog, I can get your prizes in the mail.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

My Vacation Part 2

So I am very impressed by Laura’s reasoning skills. I was surprised that she figured out that I traveled to Belize over the holidays and climbed the high temple at Lamanai. It started pouring when we reached the temple so I had to climb it in the rain, but the view was well worth it.

By coincidence I even ended up wearing my Pitzer tee-shirt while climbing the ruins.
On top of climbing ruins (haha what a pun) I also did some fishing. Check out the three foot barracuda I caught. (The hand belongs to my Dad)

He was a nasty looking guy, but boy did he taste great.
The view was amazing while I ate him.
Overall it was am amazing vacation and got me ready to go through all that mail I showed you earlier this week. (And by the way, we are still going through it)

Since I am still shocked that someone figured out my last picture so quickly, I am going to add one final round of Where in the World is Cecil the Sagehen?

As you can probably tell, Cecil had to stay in Angel’s hotel room that day. It was a little bit cold for sagehens to be out, but I photoshopped him in for your pleasure. Can anyone guess where Angel and Cecil went for the holidays?

Monday, January 5, 2009

We love you all, but please don't call

Happy New Year everyone!!!!! Welcome to 2009.

This means that all of your applications should be complete. We do know that a lot of people were having trouble with the common application, so we have decided to extend the deadline to Sunday, January 10th, at midnight PST. So if you haven’t finished that app, don’t despair, get working on it double time.

Now onto the title.

I know this is a stressful time of the year and you all want to know if we have received all of your application materials, but with how much mail we get, we won’t be able to check to see if we have received everything for at least two weeks. We were out of the office from December 24th through January 2nd. This means that we had 8 days worth of mail waiting for us upon our return. Take a look at how much mail that was for last Friday.

Here is Justin’s first trip to the mail room. It only took about 3-4 trips that morning.
Then the mail just starts to pile up.

And Cecil gets in the way making life more challenging.

So understand that we can’t possibly go through all that mail in one day. I mean even Arnaldo, Vice President of Admission and Financial Aid was in the back with a letter opener and date stamp.

He did an excellent job!

We were all working hard, even Cecil helped out.

Don’t forget even more mail came in during the afternoon.
After all the mail is opened it has to be alphabetized and entered into our computer system so that we can match it to your file.

The stack of credentials are huge!

So on behalf of myself and most other college admission counselors I know, please hold off on checking your application status for two weeks. If your teacher recommendations or school profile are running a little late, we aren’t going to blame you for that. As long as you have sent us your common app and supplement you don’t need to worry.

I also wanted to point out that the only city with available interview slots for January is Seattle, so if you want to be put on the waiting list for Emeryville, Santa Clara, Portland, DC or Chicago give us a call, but don’t be surprised if the list is long.

Now that the applications are due and we as counselors are no longer traveling, it is time to play the final round of where in the world is Cecil the Sagehen. This is the most difficult picture yet, so if you can get this perfectly I will automatically send you a Cecil. Be very specific. To be honest Cecil is actually not in this picture. He wouldn’t fit in my luggage, so we are really playing where in the world is Danny the Admission Counselor, but the principle is the same. (I was going to photoshop him in, but respect you guys too much to cheat.)

If no one gets it by Wednesday I will post a follow up picture, but it won’t be much easier.