Anyone who’s spent any time in our office over the past several weeks knows that we admission officers get the most applications read when we’re working outside of the office (regardless of what Marissa Mayer might think). Still, there needs to be at least one of us in the office at all times so we rotate (my day is Friday!). This past Friday, I spoke with several families both in person and over the phone who are eagerly awaiting their admission decisions, so I decided to write a post that I hope gives some insight into the mind of an admission officer this time of year that was partly inspired by my recent interactions with prospective students/families and partly by a program I attended recently….
My original post was going to be about admission committee and application decisions, but Raissa sort of stole my thunder (you’d think we’d coordinate these things a little better, but we really don’t). Even still, I decided to enclose some fun committee photos for your amusement.
Every year the Harvey Mudd Society of Women Engineers hosts a on-campus day for local young women (high school students) to come to campus and learn more about the STEM fields. The Office of Admission does its part by helping to coordinate campus tours and providing an admissions information session (among other things). For the past two years, I have been the admission officer assigned to conducting the information session. Though I wasn’t excited about it last year, I ended up absolutely loving the experience. Once again, as I set foot on campus last Saturday, I was grumbling to myself about how I had to be on-campus on a weekend when I still had scores of applications waiting to be read.
Once again, I am so happy I was able to participate! This time of year always makes me both appreciative that I have a job where I get to know so many amazing students who will go on to mold this world into a better place, but also saddened that we are unable to admit all of the amazing students who we feel would be great additions to the Harvey Mudd community. Thankfully, we are lucky enough to know that the students who we are unable to admit will go off to some other fantastic institution and excel there as they would have at Mudd, but still it’s a difficult process for us as we’ve grown to know all of you through your applications.
I imagine hearing an admission officer say this (particularly at this time of year) might come off as insincere, but I assure you that I am being 100% genuine when I say that learning about your families, friends, experiences, musical abilities, athletic abilities, community service, research, internships, accomplishments, political views, senses of humor, and so much more are what make my job worth doing.
It’s easy to lose sight of why we do what we do when you’re plugging away at application after application and the students who you fall in love with are the same students who we need to take out of the “admit” group because we “just don’t have the space.” In fact, I spend many-an-hour after each committee day sympathizing with my colleagues about how disheartening this process can be even on our side of the fence.
Fortunately, there are those moments which remind you such as the SWE WEST Program. Ultimately, each year I’m soooo grateful that Peter Osgood asks me to participate in this amazing program…in case you were wondering, I’ve been chosen the last two years because I am the most charismatic member of our staff :) (Haha. I wish.)
It is programs like these that truly remind me why I love my job and why I love getting to know all of you in person and through your applications. It was amazing to see so many young women with a love for STEM and interest in changing the world (I wish I had taken pics…sorry!). Honestly, I could spend hours speaking with these women and their families.
As much as I am constantly floored by the high school women attending, I’m even more impressed by the poise, grace and shear intelligence of our current students who work tirelessly to put together a program that shows younger generations the absolute awesomeness that constitute the STEM fields. Witnessing their accomplishments makes me that much more excited to dive back into reading applications just when I’ve thought I’ve had enough. I can’t wait to see what our current students are going to do in the future, and I can’t wait to read the applications from the students who attended the SWE program or made a connection to HMC in some other respect.
Sigh. I guess this did end up being an “applications/decision” post, but you’ll have to forgive me, that’s what’s on the brain this time of year. As Raissa says, it won’t be long now until decisions are mailed (I promise we’re working on trying to get you decisions as soon as we possibly can). Whether you have been admitted, denied, or waitlisted, I think I can speak on behalf of our entire office when I say, thank you for letting us get a glimpse of the amazing people you are and who you will become!