Every year, around this time, I’m reminded about why I, and my colleagues who chose Admissions as a profession, were called into this work in the first place. At the risk of sounding corny, we do this work because we believe in the power of higher education and in creating pathways to help students to be successful wherever they end up.
The first round of Early Decision (ED) applications has, for the most part, come and gone. One of the aspects that I enjoy most about this first part of our admissions season is that the students who apply to NYU as ED applicants are choosing us as their first choice school. More to the point, Early Decision means that they are making a commitment to be with us if admitted and we are committing to them as well. I have seen applications soar over the past few years and it is humbling to have so many talented young people share a part of their hopes, aspirations and experiences with us. And with every file I read, I am encouraged by what I see in the talent and dreams presented by these young people and what it says about the great future ahead. Regardless of the decision we will make, these applicants will find their way, have great college experiences, and become wonderful contributors to society.
It is an honor to have so many students from across the country and around the globe desire to be a part of our incredible university. My team and I see it as a tremendous privilege to have a glimpse into the hopes and dreams of the future generation. While there are some who are celebrating the results and others who have been disappointed and are thinking about their other options, there is good reason to be optimistic.
Reminders For Those Braving The College Admissions Process
Applying to college is a process that can lead to great discovery and significant rewards. As admissions professionals, the most important message we try to convey is that this is a process that is about the student and what they want from a college experience. I am often asked, “what is NYU looking for?” as if there is some secret magic quality that, if only revealed to the public, would create instant access to our institution.
The better question for students to ask is “what do I want from my college experience, and what institution out there will help me to get it?” Students who do well in the college admissions process typically have spent time reflecting on why they want to go to college and doing the research to help determine which of the many colleges and universities available to them can help them achieve what they want to achieve at the college level.
I’m not trying to suggest that this process is not competitive. In fact, recommending that students research and understand the process is what will make those students more competitive in their respective applicant pools. Early Decision allows students to signify to colleges that they know what they want because they’ve done the work to figure it out. From my perspective, Early Decision should be used to indicate a clear first choice, but getting there takes time.
My partners in the secondary school side are a critical resource for college bound students. At NYU, we believe that we all, admissions counselors and college counselors, play a role in the successful journey of our students in the application process. Through workshops and ongoing collaboration, we engage in conversation about how we collectively support applicants (and students overall) to make good choices for themselves. Our work together is vital to making sure students are equipped with the right tools and knowledge to determine whether applying to a school under an early or regular decision program is the right choice for them. So, be sure to consult with your counselor as you are considering your options.
As we head into the holiday season, which for high school seniors comes with looming deadlines and big decisions, remember that all of us in admissions are here, rooting for you on this exciting journey.