Hi! I am Griffith, a first year Olin student!
Wow… time goes by fast! It was not that long ago when I was in your shoes, and preparing to go to Candidates’ Weekend (assuming prospective students are reading this; if you are a parent, hi moms and dads!).
A year ago today, I barely even knew what Olin was. Sure, I filled out the application and spent plenty of time tweaking my essays. However, navigating Olin’s website to try to find information was… less than ideal and I gave up rather quickly. Most of what I knew came from some small things I heard from a friend already at Olin and from the “Princeton Review” pages. I knew it was a small, selective school, with some special education model. But what did this all have to do with me? Rest assured that just by reading these blogs (and knowing that Olin has a student-run blog), you already have a better idea of what to expect than I did!
My purpose in writing this blog is to tell you: What Candidates’ Weekend is and why you should not stress!
First: What is Candidates’ Weekend?
By the way, Serna wrote an excellent blog about her perspective regarding Candidates’ Weekend. Go check it out for more info!
The official (abbreviated) Olin definition: Candidates’ Weekend is the second stage of the admission process where you come to the Olin campus. Over the course of two days, you will get a chance to see the campus, engage with the community, participate in a student-run design challenge, and take part in an individual interview and an evaluated group exercise.
You may be thinking what I was thinking when I got invited to Candidates’ Weekend: WOW. That sounds weird and scary. I wrote a bunch of essays already and this school I might not even know anything about wants me to go there and get EVALUATED. I am not ready for this! Why should I even go?
Second: Why you should not stress.
Now is the portion of the blog where I reassure you by pulling from my vast resources of knowledge from going through this journey myself.
If you look back at my abbreviated Olin definition for Candidates’ Weekend, you will notice that I listed exploring the campus and the design challenge before the two evaluated portions of the weekend (the interview and the group exercise). I did this intentionally!
Looking back at Candidates’ Weekend, I can say that by far the most important part of the experience was exploring the campus and doing the design challenge with my fellow Candidates and current Olin students. See, Olin is a unique school… a really unique school. And more than anything, Olin wants to make sure YOU get to know Olin and understand what it’s really like, so you can make an informed decision about whether you think you’d like it here or not. We only have so many people on campus, and we want to make sure everyone who comes here will be happy and successful here. (It’s OK if you decide you can’t picture yourself at Olin; there are plenty of other great college options!).
It is perfectly normal for you not to be even remotely sure if you want to go to Olin. (I certainly was unsure coming into Candidates’ Weekend). Olin is meeting you and you are meeting Olin!
Well...that is all fine and good… BUT, what about the evaluated portions? Yes, yes, I know. All of you that are coming to Candidates’ Weekend are excellent students and are quite used to worrying about evaluations. However, I am going to challenge you not to worry (easier said than done, I know).
The fact that you are a Candidate means you are already an incredibly interesting and talented person. Just bring your true self to the interview and the group exercise. There is NOTHING you can do to prepare for them and that is the beautiful part about them. Though this may sound intimidating, really DO NOT WORRY! The admission staff and interviewers know that you had no way of preparing. If you stumble a bit, it is no big deal. If you talk about something that is a bit quirky but is true to you: GREAT! They want to see that!
Just bring yourself and you will be great! Stay calm and use Candidates’ Weekend as a chance to evaluate the school, instead of focusing on how you are being evaluated.
P.S. The design challenge, which is run entirely by Olin students, REALLY is not evaluated. Do not worry about it and look forward to the fun! You will not even see any admission people around during the activity.
Also, the students are really excited to meet all of you!