Candidates' Weekend Perspective: Sam '20

Hey there! I’m Sam, a senior studying Electrical and Computer Engineering here at Olin College. Olin is EXCITED about Candidates’ Weekends right now! We are currently creating your Design Challenge, making giant spreadsheets to organize all the activities about to happen, and clearing our schedules for all three crazy weekends so we are ready and present for you.

I’ve lived through four years of Candidates’ Weekends so far: three as an Olin student and one as a Candidate. Through the years I have seen this weekend from tons of angles: as a Design Challenge volunteer, an interviewer, a tour guide, etc. As I go into my last Candidates’ Weekends, I remember so vividly being on the other side as a Candidate.

Me as a Candidate...four years ago!

I remember waking up at the crack of dawn to drive up from my home in New Jersey to Needham, Massachusetts. The entire time my stomach was in knots…Is the nametag I decorated for myself not good enough (actual 2016 Sam thought)? What happens if I say the wrong thing in my interview? What if my team bombs the Design Challenge?!

When I arrived at Olin there was an immediate shift for me—the entire campus was engulfed in this crazy energy and excitement (maybe even too much excitement for 11 am)…There were greeters welcoming me to campus, and they handed me the list of what the next few days would look like. 

I had thought I was walking into a two day-long intensive interview process, but in reality, the interview was only part of a greater weekend. There were all these events and activities available, and as I look back now, I realize the majority of them were intended for me to really get to know the school both academically and socially. It really hit home that the goal of the weekend wasn’t just for Olin to figure out if I was a good fit for the school; it was also to help me figure out if Olin was the right fit for me.

Olin is a unique place, and I hadn’t quite understood it from scouring the website or reading a pamphlet. Activities like dinner groups with current students, a student activities fair on campus, and student panels gave me a real inside look at the life of an Oliner, and they gave me chances to engage with real students from various sides of Olin. I met people who shared with me their love for their classes, but also how much they enjoyed their improv group and project teams. They talked about their professors and about the time they spent with their friends on weekends. Because of engagements like these, I left Candidate’s Weekend with so much better of an understanding of what my life at Olin could be like.

So Candidates, please talk to current students! Think about what you want out of your college experience and don’t hold back. Ask all the questions you have and get those answers. Olin students have so much they would love to share about Olin if you are interested in listening.

I remember having such a good time at my Candidates’ Weekend. Beyond all the nerves was a whirlwind of fun activities, group interviews, a game of dodgeball, and lots of conversations. I met some inspiring current students and really cool fellow Candidates (some of whom even became a few of my best friends during my time at Olin). Sometimes I even forget there was an interview at all. 

They say hindsight is 20/20. So, if Olin senior Sam could tell high school senior Sam something in preparation for her upcoming Candidates’ Weekend, it would be this: Be yourself! Be open to letting Olin learn what makes you tick, and also be open to learning as much as you can about the place that could be your home for the next four years. 

And of course, have fun! But that was a given :)

Good luck Candidates! We are so excited to see you soon!