Friday, January 29, 2010

First week of reading!

Hello everyone. This was the first week that the counseling staff was able to take files home to read. The veterans in the office are shaking a bit of rust off their reading glasses, and cozying back up to their favorite home work-space. As the rookie in the office, I'm still getting used to this part of the job, but so far it's been a pleasure to read your applications!

After all the travel, the silliness, the promotion, the interviews, the tours, the school visits...this is the real "meat and potatoes" of our year. Each one of us takes this season very seriously. Students often articulate the most personal, sensitive, and formative subjects of their lives in college applications. Admission counselors are strangers to you. We are not your family members, your best friends, your mentors. We are not the people one might expect to be privy to the kind of emotional investment that many of you put into your applications. But here we are, reading about your personal triumphs, family tragedies, sports injuries, paradigm shifts, "a-hah!" moments, and bold aspirations. The day we forget how meaningful this exchange is, will be the day we quit our jobs.

I'll be writing more about reading season in the weeks ahead. I hope that the second half of your senior years are materializing in memorable, happy, and productive ways. Have fun!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

January Interviews

I hope everyone had a relaxing and meaningful Martin Luther King Jr. Weekend! The rest of the admission staff and I spent the weekend scattered across the country holding the last interviews of the year. We had counselors and/or Admission Fellows in San Francisco, Emeryville, Seattle, Washington D.C., and Chicago. (We'll be wrapping up in Portland this coming weekend). All added up, we did approximately 300 interviews in one weekend! Thanks as well to all of our prospective students who took time and energy to schedule an interview with us on the road. We love meeting you and hearing your stories!

We worked and traveled over a long weekend which, for most people is a holiday, because we really value the opportunity to interview as many of our applicants as we can.

Returning to the office today, we saw the parking lots and dining halls full of students who returned from winter break while we were away. The campus has energy and life again, despite the rain. Yes! Rain! Do not adjust your screen, you're reading correctly. It's been pouring, by our standards, for a couple of days now. Rain in the desert is often bewildering, and many of us are joking about the "awful weather." The truth is, however, that the rain is also a critical part of the ecosystem that we inhabit and so it's nice to see the plants and animals soaking up the much anticipated water.

While I was in Chicago for interviews I got to check in with some Pitzer College alumni!
From left: Caitlin Pierce '09 is a first-year corps member of Teach For America in Saint Louis, MO; Yael Berenson '08 lives in Chicago and works for Youth Outreach Services; Ben White '08 also lives in Chicago and works at Easter Seals Therapeutic Day School; I am me; and Kevin Garvey '08 just moved to Chicago after teaching English in South Korea for a year and a half.

What a great opportunity for some Pitzer propaganda! But really, it was fantastic to see the good work that Pitzer alumni are doing in the world. Keep it up!

For the next month or so, the admission staff will be reading the applications that you have all put so much time and energy into. It is a labor of love. Though it may seem strange, I encourage you to take this time to relax as much as you can. Not so much that you start failing classes, but enough so that you can enjoy the second half of your senior year. The process is now truly out of your hands. Read fun books, ride a bike, stay up late with your friends, write songs, eat meals with your family.

...and let us know if you have any questions!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Where's my application!?

"I submitted my application online, but my teachers mailed in my recommendation letters themselves...do you have everything!?"

"Did you get my Art Supplement!?"


"I took the SAT and/or ACT more than once, do you have all the correct scores!?"


"I heard there was a glitch with the Common App...is my application OK!?"


"My messenger pigeon came back without my college application, does that mean you received it!?"
[True story.]

If you have any of these questions, or others like them, then Cecil the Sagehen has something to tell you. Click here!

Also, for those of you who miss the "Beyond Buzzwords" days, check out this article in the Chronicle of Higher Education and then my Letter to the Editor in response. Let me know what you think!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Our turn

Welcome back from a great break! The Office of Admission took a nice little vacation for the holidays and now we're back to work. Most of you have already submitted your Regular Decision applications. Congratulations! Some of you may have had some trouble submitting online if you waited until the last minute. For this reason, if you began your application before the deadline, YOU MAY STILL SUBMIT before midnight Pacific Standard Time on Sunday, January 10. If you have any questions about the Common App glitch, give us a call at the office.

We're really proud of all the hard work and energy that went into your applications.

Now it's our turn! For the next couple of weeks we'll just be opening mail, sorting, alphabetizing, and entering information into our computer database. Here's some footage from our "back office" this morning where some of our staff are working alongside some dedicated student workers to sort all of your information!


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