Why Are You Going to College?

1,332. This is the number of college essays I have read to date this season. I’m getting to the point where I need to blink every few minutes to prevent my eyes from drying out. Amidst the daunting process that is reading season, I find myself stopping every couple of hours, taking a deep breath, and refocusing on what it is I am looking for in each application. I remind myself that the application I am about to read is like no other I’ve read to date. It’s easy to lump all stories together and lose sight of the one key difference between applications: context such as how and where the student grew up, her cultural background, and if she is the first in her family to attend college. All of these details significantly impacts her understanding of a college education and the story she will tell. As a first generation college student myself, I remember the college search and application process like it was yesterday. I knew I had to go to college. That was never a question. Why you … [Read more...]

Wish Me Luck! I’m Taking the SAT!

Every year, before we begin file review, our office goes through a few days of training.  There is always a portion dedicated to standardized tests--to go over what they measure and how we should and should not use them in the application review process.  Our Dean typically leads this part and will always says that any of us are welcome to take the SAT for professional development purposes.  So I decided to. When I tell people this, 95% (especially high school students) are mortified and ask why.  The remaining 5% (mostly adults) are curious about the test that consumed a year or so of their lives back in high school.  Clearly, this test has no consequences on the trajectory of my life. There are no stakes for me (aside from potential mocking). And yet I am nervous... You can only have one account for College Board, so I had to call them to get my original registration number.  To access it, they needed my email address. Unfortunately, that address is no longer active (shoutout to … [Read more...]

Closing Time

By the time this post is live, I will be done with recruitment.  I have a weekend of interviews in Houston, where I will talk to 28 high school seniors over two days and pray that I don’t ask one of them the same question twice.  I say this every year, but I seriously do not know where fall went.  As massive of an undertaking every recruitment season feels like, it always seems to disappear before you realize it.  My ’work travel’ email folder only has three confirmations left in it--which is good considering what happened last week in San Luis Obispo: I locked myself out of my hotel room immediately after checking in and, when the front desk attendant asked me which room I was in, I stared at her blankly and admitted I had no idea. You might think that after three years of recruiting in the same territory I would no longer get lost and would know exactly where the front office of every school is.  I wish this were true.  I often find myself in the mental dilemma of not knowing … [Read more...]

How to Groove Like Grant Cushman

It’s your good friend and confidante Grant Cushman with another installment of Tech Tuesday. So, travel season is winding down and it’s time for everyone to crawl back into whatever hole you came out of so that you can read applications for the better part of six months.  To honor this exciting time of the cycle, I would like to share with all of you the music services that I use to drown out the silence while reading. Like all things in life, each of these services has its own pros and cons which I hope to elucidate on throughout the blog. Spotify Starting off with the one that probably everyone knows: Spotify has become the staple for streaming music (legally). Present in either a desktop or web-based client, Spotify allows users to create their own playlists using a gigantic music library or to connect Spotify with their Facebook (so they can see what all of their friends are grooving to). While it doesn’t have every song in the world, you’re pretty much set if you are a … [Read more...]