Candidates' Weekend Perspective: Caitlin '23

Caitlin Coffey '23
ageorges 

Hey there! I’m Caitlin, a first-year studying to be an Engineering with Computing (E:C) major at Olin. I’m from La Crosse, Wisconsin, and I’m here to talk to you guys about Candidates’ Weekend and what my experience was like last year (since this year’s Candidates’ Weekend is just around the corner!).

Candidates’ Weekend is the second part of Olin’s application process where prospective students can experience a weekend of fun events designed to introduce you to the Olin community. In other words, it’s to help you understand how you would fit at Olin. You’ll have the opportunity to talk to current students and staff, participate in a demo of one of our classes, explore our campus, see all of the clubs and activities Olin offers, do an awesome and exciting Design Challenge, and participate in some interviews.

If this sounds scary to you, you’re not alone! I felt exactly the same way about Candidates’ Weekend almost a year ago. In fact, I was already nervous just about getting there because after I drove up an hour to the airport the lady at the check-in desk told me I had booked my tickets out of the wrong airport (in case if you were wondering, direct flights to Boston out of regional Midwest airports are too good to be true). For a brief four-hour window, I thought I wouldn’t even be able to make it to Candidates’ Weekend!

Fortunately, things worked out and soon I found myself on Olin’s campus surrounded by new people. I remember feeling especially nervous on the first day, and I had this irrational feeling in me that I was being evaluated and judged for everything that I said or did (you really aren’t). I felt like I wasn’t "engineer-y" enough or I wasn’t qualified to even be here, but those feelings faded away when I started talking to more people and realized that everyone had their own unique interests beyond engineering, and that I wasn’t the only one who wanted to pursue music.

For starters, Candidates’ Weekend is not going to be a place where you’ll have to "prove" why you belong here. By being invited to this next stage of Olin’s application process, you’ve already proven to be academically qualified based on your hard work in high school! With that being said, Candidates’ Weekend is not the kind of place to compare test scores or GPAs. This is a place to show your original self and get a feel for whether Olin is the right fit for you.

Some of the things I thought were the most daunting parts of Candidates’ Weekend turned out to be the most fun and exciting. My group had a great time with the Design Challenge even though our design didn’t work the way we envisioned it. The environment was so relaxed that I felt like I could be my true self. We even went sledding together in the snow!

The interviews aren’t as scary as they seem, either. You don’t have to show up in a suit (nor is this advised), but you also shouldn’t come in a different college’s sweatshirt. I wore my Candidates’ Weekend shirt (you’ll get one, too!) and a pair of jeans and felt just fine (in fact, they recommend that you do this). Being yourself and talking about how you truly see yourself at Olin is the best advice anyone could have ever given me before my individual interview. Don’t feel afraid to ask questions to your interviewers too--this also applies to the general student body. We’re more than happy to answer them for you!

Last but not least, if you honestly feel like Olin isn’t the right place for you, that’s okay. You won’t be the only one who feels that way. Candidates’ Weekend is a time to find out if Olin is the right place for you and have fun while doing so. If you find out you’d rather go to a larger school or maybe you don’t want to be an engineer, that’s perfectly normal. At the end of the day, Candidates’ Weekend is an event that will give you a glimpse of what Olin is like. We’re looking forward to seeing you all here!

Posted in: Caitlin '23