It’s the evening of our early action and early decision release, and I’m hoping, like every other admissions director anywhere, that our process was effective and our class is “the best ever.” On some level, we’ve worked really hard as a team to get to this moment: our student ambassadors gave 100% all year long, our admissions counselors were consistently asked to do more, and everyone always stepped up with a smile. The financial aid counselors hustled until the very last day to make college a financial reality for the students whose applications made us laugh, think, and see the world in a new way. Nothing about getting here has been easy. And yet, welcoming the next class doesn’t really mean job-well-done in admissions. The real work of admissions is much deeper and much more important. And it goes far beyond the details of who steps on campus next fall.
Having served as both a high school counselor and an admissions counselor, I understand this story from “both sides of the desk.” And, unfortunately, not all of us are focused on how powerful this process, not only the results, can be. Earning admission to a student’s first-choice school is one way to view the college search as successful, but a much more important measurement can be taken by examining the empathy and confidence you gain throughout the process.
This year at Clark, we started a #yougotthis campaign on all of our admissions materials. Yes, even if you aren’t admitted to Clark tonight, I promise, #yougotthis. We believe in you regardless of our admissions decision, and we know that you have important talents and stories to share with the world. And we believe in this class, this year’s high school seniors, as a collective pool of curious individuals with an incredible capacity to give back. We know that whether or not you attend Clark, you will work hard to leave this world better than you found it. And we want to tell you that. We don’t want to wait for some of you to arrive on our campus, because we want to tell all of you this. You are all worthy of our time and attention, and we are so grateful to have read your application.
As the countdown begins and we are minutes away from decisions going out, it’s heartening to pull up our social media channels to see this year’s high school seniors have moved past our message. You are making it even better; a process that may have begun with self-interest is now focused on the value of the connections we have to one another. Trending on our channels tonight: #wegotthis.