As I write these notes, we are preparing for the holidays, and supposedly still preparing for winter, although the ground has long been covered in white. Our students have departed, and the campus seems quiet. In admissions we are also "between terms" -- between recruitment and selection. Early Decision applicants who declare Colgate their first choice are being reviewed on a steady, rolling basis throughout these months. Already we have made offers to nearly ten percent of the class!
This process helps us anticipate the pace and quality of regular applications. Though our application deadline is mid-January, already we can tell it will be a busy year. We would be pleased, indeed, to match last year's experience with 6,000 candidates for a class of 725. Daily we check "the numbers," and so far applications for the Class of 2000 are running ahead of last year. It is early, however, and too soon to determine any real gains. Many students put the finishing touches on their applications over the holidays and file their forms at the eleventh hour. Perhaps they look for seasonal inspiration, or the luck of the new year, to lend that "extra something" to their résumés and essays!
There is no crystal ball to predict admission decisions -- for students or admission staff. As we read each folder, we make an initial assessment but withhold a decision. We must compare each student against the overall applicant group, highlighting distinct talents and experiences that would stand out or develop at Colgate. The majority of our applicants could "do the work," so our decisions must reflect the interests of Colgate within this talented group.
On the other end of the process, prospective students (and parents) struggle to understand that admission decisions are not always "fair" in an objective sense. A student's credentials may match the average GPAs and SAT scores of previous classes, yet we cannot admit them all. Such is the nature of a selective process where the competition is tough, and the institution must exercise its priorities.
Despite some disappointment, there is much good news to share in the spring. The early signs are most positive that this year's admitted students will continue in the tradition of recent classes as a particularly enthusiastic, motivated and talented group. We look forward to that moment when the class is filled. Until then, there are folders to read!
MARY F. HILL '83
Dean of Admission