Off to the desert

As a Connecticut transplant from Arizona (with a graduate school stop in the Midwest), I’m excited to head back to the desert and connect with students from the West!

opportunity-signIt’s time to spread the word that Trinity is a great school for any student who wants to experience a classic New England, collegiate liberal arts education with a twist — a city setting. So while I head to meet students in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tucson, and other warm locations, my colleagues are visiting students in the Midwest, the Eastern Seaboard, and as far away as India.

It’s that time of year when sending out emails and lovely brochures just doesn’t suffice. We want to meet you, visit your schools, and let you know why we are proud traveling Bantams.

Keep an eye on our Facebook page at the beginning of each week to see which schools we are headed to for the following days.

We’re excited to meet you! Thanks for hosting us near and far.

(Now, where did I put my rolling carry-on luggage … )

And so it begins …

Move In Day for our new class is a multifaceted experience. They check-in, move-in, meet their roommates, and eventually bid farewell to their families. The day is full of activity and certainly exhausting, but in the middle of the day we stop for Convocation. Students process in, followed by faculty, and with families surrounding them on all sides, the new class settles in for a few of their first minutes ‘Neath the Elms of Trinity.

Here are a few pictures from Convocation:

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Teens Talk

imageDuring a large conference on college recruitment practices, I attended the session entitled, “TeensTALK Live!” It was a panel of 16 recent high school graduates who were all college bound this fall. There is nothing quite so validating or challenging as listening to 16 students tell us about their college search and application experiences. All the efforts, ideas, and initiatives that we strive to bring to fruition are put into new light when a panel of high school graduates either shrug away or light up in response to them.

Here are some take-aways from their feedback:

  • The information flow to high school juniors and seniors is overwhelming. Unique messages and current student perspectives rise to the top of the stack.
  • Personal connection to an individual recruiter is still the most powerful influencer once students have decided to apply.
  • Quick access to basic information is appreciated in emails and Web sites.
  • Phone calls and texting can become intrusive very quickly.
  • The importance of the campus visit cannot be overstated.

Do you find those things to be true for you? Feel free to respond on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/trincoll

 

Sweet Home Chicago

imageWhat do admissions staff members do in the summer? Well, more and more it seems.

Because our fall semester is spent on the road, attempting to meet and get to know our prospective applicants face-to-face, and our spring semester is spent reading applications and building our incoming class, summer has become the time to review our internal systems, refine our process, and educate ourselves. Sounds super exciting, right?

When we get to travel, meet others in college admissions that we have only “met” online, and learn about what YOU, the high school student and college seeker, is actually interested in, it actually is quite interesting.

So here I am in Chicago, a town I used to call home, attending a conference and absorbing as much as I can about this increasingly competitive and complex world we call “College Admissions.” In truth, you might be looking at your college choices and feeling somewhat assessed during the process. But let me assure you: college professionals are listening to your voice, hoping to reach out to you where you are, and feeling assessed as well (as we should be). As you visit campuses this summer and learn about various college choices, we are learning how to serve you better in this process.

I always emphasize to students how powerful they are in this process. Here, at this conference center in Chicago, I am reminded that we are all working to find the best college fit for you.

I’ll report more after I absorb more information and perhaps a few slices of deep dish pizza …

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions …

Today is the BIG DAY for our Early Decision, Option 1, (ED1) candidates! Yes, that’s correct — Friday the 13th will be either a “lucky” day or an “unlucky” day for many.

Let’s talk basic information
Here is a starting link for those of you who want to check your decisions: http://www.trincoll.edu/Admissions/apply/Pages/Status.aspx. If you have trouble accessing the information, here is a help link: http://www.trincoll.edu/Admissions/apply/loginhelp/Pages/default.aspx. Decisions will be posted by this evening at 7:00pm.

What you might see
There are three possible decisions posted for our completed ED1 candidates. They are: Admitted, Denied, or Deferred.

What’s next

If you are admitted, congratulations! We will follow up with an enrollment confirmation card and letter in the mail soon. Be sure to withdraw all applications from other institutions as our ED is a binding agreement. (Remember that affidavit you signed with your application?) That step is critical. Usually, it is sufficient to email the other colleges’ admissions offices indicating that you have been admitted to Trinity College as an Early Decision candidate and are withdrawing your application. And every office appreciates a simple, “Thank you for considering my application.” Just FYI, if you want to keep the good karma flowing while you are basking in the ED Admit glow. Welcome to #TrinColl2018!

If you are denied, seeing that decision can be a tough hit. So let’s talk perspective: there is a strange release in receiving this information. You are not in limbo; you can fully commit to setting your sights elsewhere. Is it what you wanted to hear? No. If you are denied as an ED1 candidate it is likely that Trinity would not have been the right fit for you. It may feel like a value judgement, but we hope that disappointment can ebb enough to make room for that glimmer of hope that, perhaps, this decision will help guide you to your best college fit.

If you are deferred, you are entering what might feel like a murky gray area. You have now been added to the Regular Decision applicant pool. You are no longer held to the binding agreement of Early Decision. Your first order of business will be to finalize any outstanding applications elsewhere. It’s time to press that “submit” button to be sure other colleges and universities have your applications in place before their Regular Decision deadline. If Trinity remains your top choice, then stay hopeful and don’t hesitate to reach back to us! There are many reasons we defer an application: We may want to see one more set of grades to be sure your performance in the classroom continues to improve or shows consistency; we may feel the need to see what the Regular Decision candidates bring to the table before we commit too many class spaces and financial aid resources to too large a group; or there may be an unanswered question lingering in your application. Regardless of the reason, your best course of action is to let us know of your continued interest and to keep us updated with your academic performance, new honors, or leadership activities. It isn’t the answer you may have wished for, but there absolutely is hope for your application.

This process is not easy. It takes grit and determination. We are honored that you chose Trinity as your Early Decision choice and want to assure you that no decision was made without great thought, review, and respect for your application.

Trick and Treat

If you have been working on the Common Application’s Web site, you may have discovered that it can be a bit “tricky” to work with after it launched an upgrade this fall. Colleges are well aware of the challenges you are facing and you can rest assured that we will keep this in mind as we process applications and approach our deadlines.

(If you are not aware of this issue, you can read more about it here: http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/10/31/21247475-college-admissions-process-plagued-by-common-app-technical-glitches)

Well, here’s the “treat” we offer: we have expanded the options for our accepted applications. We now also accept the Universal College Application. The Common Application and the Universal College Application will be weighted equally in our admissions process. Use the option that works best for you. You can find the links to both applications on our “How to Apply” page. http://www.trincoll.edu/Admissions/apply/Pages/HowToApply.aspx#application

Application season is scary enough without the extras tricks.

An admissions officer, Thomas Friedman, and a karaoke DJ walk into a bar …

Ok, so it was a convention center in Toronto, not a bar, but I have you reading this far about a professional conference, so forgive the teaser title.

More than 5,000 professionals attended the National Association for College Admission (NACAC) annual conference in Toronto a few weeks ago. There is always a tremendous amount of information and ideas shared, but below are some major takeaways/reminders/themes that bubbled to the top:

1) “AVERAGE IS OVER” Thomas Friedman, NYT columnist and our keynote speaker spoke about the new global interconnectedness and instant information sharing that now have raised the bar across all professions. His take? You can no longer “do what you’ve always done, to get what you’ve always gotten.” You have to step it up. Where college graduates once found a job, future graduates will likely have to create a job. It was inspiring and terrifying at the same time.

2) Prospective college applicants want a conversation and a connection with the colleges they are considering. They know resources are out there for review, but the interaction is very important. (See #1 above admissions professionals!)

3) High school students would like to be shown, not told, about life at college. Viewbooks and Web sites are simply starting points. Live chats, visits, videos, and current social media content help students understand character, lifestyle, and the general atmosphere of any campus. And that is critical information about their future college home.

4) College admissions folks (both high school counselors and admissions officers) are truly conscientious, dedicated professionals who want the best outcome for individuals. These are good people who make me proud to be a part of this vocation.

5) And finally … if you put these hard-working, naturally enthusiastic individuals in a big waterfront venue with a DJ and his karaoke machine, we can shut the town down! Seriously, displays of talent were only surpassed by displays of fearless abandon!

Toronto was a beautiful host city, and the NACAC group once again navigated the vast amount of details to bring us all together so we stay informed, inspired, and connected. I hope Indianapolis is ready for 2014!

What’s in a name?

Well, certainly not the whole story. Many students who encounter the name “Trinity College” assume we are a parochial school, specifically Catholic. Along with our name, the pictures of our beautiful chapel probably feed that perception for many prospective students and their parents. So here’s the real scoop: we are an independent, nonsectarian college; however, we have a diverse range of spiritual and religious offerings on campus.

This seems a good time to clarify this topic for prospective students because Reform Judaism Magazine just named Trinity College a “Top 20 Small & Mighty Campus of Excellence.” The Hillel organization awards that recognition to collegiate institutions who have demonstrated a commitment to support Jewish Life on campus.

Did you know Trinity has:
- a Kosher eatery?
- a Jewish Studies major and minor?
- a Shabbat dinner open to all campus community members on Friday nights?
- a vibrant Hillel House that hosts some of our most popular annual events?
- interfaith community service trips to places like Trinidad and Uganda?
- study abroad programs to universities in Israel?
- courses in Hebrew?

We do! Along with so much more.

By the way, I’ve attended some Shabbat dinners on Friday nights (did I mention they are FREE) and it is one of my favorite ways to end a busy week. Those dinners, along with the range of events provided through our Hillel House, really create that “home-away-from-home” that students crave when they come to college. Hillel is a wonderful way to connect with a sense of community.

So, whether you are looking at Trinity College, or other collegiate institutions, be sure not to make assumptions based on a name or a common perception. You’ll probably miss out on the full picture, and the full picture might be just what you are looking for.

The end is just the beginning …

Although we have yet to hit the official start of summer, our academic calendars are in full summer mode. For admissions professionals it is time for a well-earned rest. However, this rest comes with a cost: the students we have worked with – students we may have met in their high schools as far back as five or six years ago – are moving on. And we have been so busy, working so hard to invite in a new class that we barely recognized it was coming until it was upon us.

Yes, the graduating seniors are the hardest to say goodbye to, but, at Trinity, more than 50% of our students study abroad, so we have to say a temporary goodbye to some wonderful students as they take part in a semester or year-long experience we know will change their outlook for the rest of their lives.

It’s why they came to college, right? To learn, be exposed to new ideas and cultures, be challenged, feel that empowerment of mastering what was previously The Unknown, and then to go share their gifts with the world that awaits them. But it’s hard to say goodbye.

So I think of the student who went on to D.C. to lobby for better hospital access for all, the student who was accepted to his first choice graduate program for neuroscience, the student who visited his home in Africa to continue his peace initiative under the tutelage of former President Bill Clinton, the young woman from Philadelphia who always knew that she wanted to spend a year abroad in Korea and master the language, or our marvelous tour guide who will leave us for seminary in Scotland, and the sadness is diminished. These are wonderful people who had unique experiences here, and now they will share what they learned and continued to grow.

And that’s how it should be.

One Billion Rising (including some Trinity folks!)

Trinity students with Theater and Dance professor Judy Dworin

One week ago at this time, I was boarding a bus for the state capitol building with a group of Trinity students, staff, and administrators. Laura Lockwood, the director of Trinity’s Women and Gender Resource Action Center offered t-shirts to the passengers, creating one of the few commonalities of the day. I was so proud to see every age, gender, ethnicity, walk-of-life represented on this bus that was headed through snow-lined streets to our planned FlashMob intended to raise awareness of violence against women all over the world.

Once there, we quickly filed into the legislative office building and found a large, vibrant crowd milling about in the rotunda lobby. I noticed a contigent of students from a local private school for girls. I even ran into personal friends and my region’s state representative (who happens to be married to a member of the Trinity family, thank you very much!). Above us, multiple encircling balconies were filled with legislators and visitors who stopped going about their business to peer over the edge at the excitement below. Among the viewers, I spotted a few Trinity College Legislative Internship students. A woman stepped up to the mic and spoke fervently, the music began, and, well, the rest is better seen than described: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0LSRA_Le–Q

I was so proud of our students and our greater community that day. Let our movement be the MOVEMENT!