Today’s Washington Post: admissions stress aplenty

Two interesting articles today in the Washington Post. The first article details how hard the decisions on where to deposit are for some families (conveniently they highlight a student who chose Mason, but unfortunately for financial reasons instead of realizing that we are the BEST SCHOOL EVER). This is another of the many many many many articles about how students are changing their decision patterns. A few of the articles include surveys, but most, like this one, highlight a couple of students. As I’ve said before, we won’t really know what’s going to happen until…well, until it happens. At the moment what I hear from my colleagues (one might say spies) is that enrollments commitments are all over the map – some privates up, others down, same for publics, and changing daily (yes, Mason is up. I know…we rock). A fellow dean from one of the most competitive schools in the world told me he announced to his campus leadership that he had no idea what enrollment would be and that they shouldn’t expect to know a thing until August. In other words – take all these articles with a healthy does of skepticism, as it ain’t over ’til it’s over.
I much preferred the other admissions article in today’s Post, this one by Joel Achenbach, on the decision process from a parent perspective. He does a great job highlighting to totally unrealistic and unnecessary stress in the process. Although there’s a boatload of data on all the reasons why where you do to school isn’t as big a deal as LIKING where you go to school, parents are still twisting themselves into knots every bit as much as applicants (if not more). My boss, Provost Peter Stears, wrote a great book on the subject (one of his more than 100 published – not that I’m jealous or anything. Hey, I have a blog.) called, “Anxious Parents.” It walks through the history of how we as a society became so insanely stressed about our kids, and I think it has great lessons for the admissions process. Of course, it really doesn’t provide any answers, but it does help explain our neurosis. Be seeing you.


3 Responses

  1. Thanks for this informative blog. The first WP article link doesn’t work.

  2. Thanks – I think it’s working now!

  3. You can kill Micheal Parra if you still see his University of Delaware sticker :p

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