The fall semester marks the beginning of the academic year and, ironically, a kind of closure in the world of college admissions. As families visit the campus for a glimpse of Colgate life, our traditional fall recruitment travel actually signals the end of the college search for many students.
We criss-cross the country to meet with high school students and their families and to answer their questions and solidify their interest in a Colgate education. All told, we spend about 50 weeks on the road! We go out armed with brochures and pamphlets, and invoke the assistance of alumni volunteers, as well as current students and faculty.
Through college fairs, receptions and visits to secondary schools, we make contact with, quite literally, thousands of students. These months represent the end of the "search process" for most seniors. They probably began thinking about choosing a college sometime in their junior year and by now they are fine-tuning their list. Our role then is to help them position Colgate among their choices, and to lead them to recognize the distinctiveness of the Colgate experience.
We never rest easy in this business, but our admissions experience of the past few years tells us we are doing quite well. It is mid-October as I write and already we have received some applications for the Class of 2000. We turn our attention to these Early Decision candidates after November 1 when recruitment travel winds down and we shift gears to a more reflective mode. I have always enjoyed this part of the admission process, when we are privileged to read of the triumphs and tribulations of many quite remarkable students.
We begin folder reading in earnest in January. For two months each member of the admission staff will review approximately 1,000-1,200 applications. We assess and record the applicants' various strengths and abilities as individuals, and within the total applicant pool. As we proceed to make decisions we consider each person's capacity to contribute to and thrive in the Colgate community. We consider how each student might make Colgate an even better place. It is indeed a challenging and humbling process. Ultimately it is a very encouraging one as well, not only because of Colgate's good fortune in attracting talented students but also for the very satisfying prospect that Colgate will be in good hands for generations to come.
In so many ways admissions work is a study in contrasts -- the contrast of meeting the public during recruitment with the private contemplation that defines folder review and selection, as well as the sheer variety of life experiences, interests and passions which our applicants put forth to make their case for admission to Colgate.
As we settle in for the winter season of reading essays and testimonials, transcripts and SATs, we are gratified to see the fruits of our labors. And we are reminded, as we open the next application from a future Student Association president, chemistry scholar, author or track star, that it is Colgate itself -- its programs and people, and this special place -- that persuades our audience and "sells" itself.
MARY F. HILL '83
Dean of Admission