So, we’re reading again. How did this happen so soon? It doesn’t feel like it’s been seven months since I packed away my laptop and stored my tote bag. But here I am with a pile of blue folders on my desk and a deadline staring me down. So many people to “meet” and summarize, so little time…
Bendetson Hall (the Undergraduate Admissions Office) feels like a library during finals. It’s eerily quiet—save for the occasional shriek from down the hall when an essay tickles my colleague Jen Simons—as we read, and type, and think. We’re all swimming in the deep end of the Early Decision pool. (Sorry, bad pun…)
People often ask me, “What stands out as you read?” Not surprisingly, I suppose, a good essay is invaluable. A strong voice and a compelling personal narrative go a long way toward advancing a file from “applicant” to “accepted” status. I read one this morning, a response to our alternate history prompt, and said to myself, “She’s so damned smart.” I voted to admit her. We’ll see if the second reader shares my enthusiasm. Another made me scratch my chin and say “huh?” That one has a less rosy fate, I suspect.
Reading is my favorite part of the admissions process, “the work of the work” as a former colleague liked to say. It is. It’s the moment when all the talking and recruiting and touring gels into an application, and it’s time to consider the file on its merits. With a pot of green tea next to my pile of files, I dig into the task at hand. I jiggle my leg while I read; I bite my lip and pull my earlobe. It’s like I never left 2nd grade.
Okay, back to work… These folders don’t read themselves