Now that decisions are coming out (congrats to the future class of 2012!), I thought I'd take the chance to blog about how Candidates' Weekend appeared to me, an old sophomore. While last year I worked Design Build, the unevaluated team activity that candidates start out their Saturday with, this year I was a student interviewer.
At Olin, Candidates' Weekend is primarily a chance to get to know students on a deeper level than a paper application alone would allow. It's also a chance for the students to get to know the school. The only evaluative part here is an interview and a group discussion, judged by a team of three. I was placed on a team with Joe Hunter, the Director of Communications, and Will Clayton ('06). Some teams have faculty members instead of staff or alumni, but all have a current student.
Why is this? Olin is incredibly small, and it all comes down to fit. The hope is that students will know best who would fit in with other students. Sitting down with my interviewees, I could easily see bits and pieces of other people that went to Olin. As we discussed the candidates, it was exciting to hear my opinion being weighed as just as important as the two who had interviewed close to 20 times between them.
In the end, we came to consensus and wrote up our comments for the admissions committee. It took us more than two hours, and I ended up having to grab dinner from the carts they had already loaded up to begin cleaning up.
Candidates' Weekend can sometimes feel like a bit of a harsh process for a student who falls in love with Olin and then doesn't make it, but it is a necessary evil. In becoming an interviewer, I really learned how much effort goes into making every deliberation about every student. The amount of student involvement in the process is pretty much unheard of. I don't think that Olin could build its community in any other way.