Earlier this week, I walked in to my very first day of Committee with a fair bit of anxiousness, terrifying images of the proverbial bloodbath that must be a 22% acceptance rate, and a veggie platter. Eight hours later, I left the room a bit wiser about the process, and, yes, few pounds heavier (let’s just say not everyone’s snacks were healthy. Did you know that cake can come in ball form?!) I learned one very important thing in this first Committee, and I thought I’d share it with you.
Now, this may seem intuitive, I suppose, so bear with me. My jaw-dropping discovery was that a diverse class must come from a diverse admissions office. It is imperative, when bringing together a group of individuals to decide on a class of 1300 students, to ensure that those individuals are as diverse in interests as you wish the class to be. This may seem impossible, as there are only 22 officers in the Tufts Undergraduate Admissions Office, but even when we split into three separate committees, as we did this week, our differences are evident. Our passions and priorities run the gamut, to say the least, and this, I’ve learned, is what makes a Committee successful.
Sitting around the table, munching on baby carrots (oh who are we kidding? It was cake, I was munching on cake), I saw my colleagues squirm in excitement over very different things. For some, it was a rapper with success on iTunes, for others it was an essay mentioning Sien Hoornik, or a science project involving wind turbines, or a three season athlete who also happens to write poetry. Committee was quickly turning in to a fun get-to-know-you gathering instead of the ruthless, removed, yes-no game I had made it out to be in my head!
All of us in that room had one goal: to make the Tufts University class of 2016 an intellectually stimulating group of individuals who see learning opportunities outside of the classroom as often as in it. And since each of us had such different ideas about what a compelling student looks like, we were able to start the process of creating a class that can learn from each other as well as their professors. So I may love the applicant whose list of most recent reads includes both F. Scott Fitzgerald and Suzanne Collins (yes, she’s the author of The Hunger Games, so what?) who has an insatiable appetite for the biography of Vincent Van Gogh and thinks that science is a little too concrete. But my art historian who writes in flowing prose is always someone else’s robot-building, proof-writing, number crunching research fanatic, and I thank goodness for that. I learned from my first day of committee that there is an advocate for everyone in our pool. There is always someone who gets you, in all of your seemingly incongruous, beautifully weird complexities. That’s what an Admissions Office is supposed to be, isn’t it?
In case you were wondering, for Early Decision II Committee, I will be bringing pretzel goldfish. And, Justin, I swear that if you bring cake in any way, shape or form, there will be hell to pay.