On Reading Applications, and Waiting

Susan Hartley Brisson

In the next few weeks, all the college application deadlines will come to pass.  As you wrap up your applications and, with a huge sigh of relief, hit “send,” your obsession for the past months comes to an end.  It will be anticlimactic – you’ll feel strangely adrift – and the hardest part of the college application process, the waiting, will begin. 

So long as you are working on your application, you’re still in control of the process, right?  You can tweak your essay one more time, you can update your extracurricular profile on the Common App, and you can register for another testing date or submit some extra credit work to up your AP Calculus grade.  But once January 1 comes and goes, and you have submitted your application, you’ve given it over to us.  When that happens, when you hand your heart and soul, your dreams and hopes and aspirations over to the Admission Office, please know that your magnum opus is received by us with respect and reverence. 

Reading applications is the meat of admission work.  Every other aspect of the job (travel, recruitment, and information sessions) is something that brings us closer to our primary focus:  evaluating applications for admission to our institution.  So as you’re trying to move on to your third quarter classes, your rehearsals for the spring musical or your prep for FIRST championships, we are immersing ourselves in every aspect of you.  And it’s serious business.

It’s also the hardest fun I’ve ever had, reading so many applications from so many truly terrific students who wish to join the Olin community.  Please be assured that we don’t take this responsibility lightly.  Please know that your carefully crafted essay will be read thoroughly (and probably more than once).  We will scrutinize your school profile and evaluate your academic choices and accomplishments through the lens of what has been available to you at your school.  We will use the comments of your teachers and school counselor to further flesh out a picture of you as a student, and we will review the depth and breadth of your engagement outside of school, to form a sense of a fully realized human. 

And then we will give you an answer to your request.  I can’t promise that it will be the answer that you want.  So often in life, you don’t get the answer, the promotion, the winning lottery ticket that you wish for.  But we will give you an answer that is the thoughtful product of a careful and close review of all the materials you sent to us.   I hope that understanding that makes the waiting a little easier.  We know you’ve put it all out there in your application.  We respect that, and we honor the trust you place in us by doing so.

Best wishes to you and your family for a happy holiday season.

Posted in: All Admission Staff Blogs, Susan