Comments, questions, feedback? Let me hear it!


We’ve been getting quite a bit of email feedback and questions, which go to our central in-box then get forwarded.  Many of the questoins are off topic from my postings, so my staff members (tired, I suspect, of having to forward those emails) suggested we created a blog post for whatever random topics you might want to raise.

I’m still lounging at the shore, while my staff are busy answering those emails and over at President’s Park, one of our freshmen housing areas, helping our newest Patriots move into their rooms. Shameless Plug – Like most universities, Mason has a great Welcome Week I’m looking forward to when I get back in town this weekend.    In between vacation and campus events I’ll try to get around to posting some the comments and questions we’ve already received.  Feel free to use this post to put up whatever discussion topics you’d like to add, admissions or otherwise. Be seeing you.

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7 Responses

  1. I recently discovered your blog and have been enjoying reading the archives. I taught college for around ten years and recently began teaching at a private school, though I keep my hand in by teaching in an M.A. program in my discipline, English. This fall is the first one in which I’ll write a significant number of college recommendations and track the college application process for students I’ve taught, so I appreciate the context your blog provides!

  2. Hello Dean Flagel,

    I’m a prospective student for Fall 2010, and I have a couple of questions regarding the admissions process. First of all: the essay. I wrote a 500-word essay, and I’m wondering if it will be okay to submit it. Is there a word limit? I tried to find the essay-information page on GMU’s site without success. Are there certain topics we’re required to write about? And do we only submit one essay? (Not including the personal statement which I know is required)

    Also: recommendations. I know we have to submit a recommendation from the guidance counselor. Is it okay to submit one from another teacher as well?

    Thanks. As a warning, I will probably have a lot more questions in the future.

  3. Dean Flagel,
    A friend of mine forwarded my your comments on the college explorations website run by Nancy Griesemer about the new SAT score choice program. It was, I think, right on the mark, and nicely phrased.

  4. Dean Flagel,

    While we’re on the road looking at colleges, we get to hear what passes for humor as part of the standard admissions pitch. Ever heard that stale joke about how Admissions “helped” the applicant who expressed on her Harvard application her lifelong dream of attending Princeton? Or the one that goes: Which looks better on an application: 5s on eight AP courses or a 2400 on the SAT? (Punch line: Both.)

    What jokes do admissions officers really tell each other during Happy Hour at conferences? Or while standing around the office watercooler?

    I’m confident you can uncork a few doozies in a future post. Inquiring minds want to know.

  5. After sitting through the admissions speech of a very selective, EXPENSIVE university that will remain un-named, I have to rant.

    First, the word “holistic” should be banned from the English language. I think I heard it about 50 times in a 40 minute session.

    Second, don’t tell me you don’t care about my standardized test scores and that you’re interested in the entire person. You can’t be interested in the entire person; it’s completely impracticle when you’re trying to sift through thousands of applicants. Also, if you’re asking for not only the standard SAT but also two SAT subject tests in areas “relating to your proposed major” (never-mind the fact that most undergraduates change their major every week or so for the first year), you obviously care a lot about those stupid tests. If you didn’t, you wouldn’t force me to take MORE of them. I’m valedictorian of my high school; I’m not an idiot!

    Next, if you want another essay on top of the one included on the Common App, just tell me to write another essay! Don’t label it “optional” or “recommended” and then count it against me when I take you at your word and don’t write another essay because I have two papers for school to write and a project for my English class that will cause me to fail the semester if I don’t do well on it, and a mission trip for my church that I’m helping to organize and I have to drive my little sister to soccer while my dad drives another sister to softball and my mom is taking my brother to his track meet. Just tell me what you want and I’ll do it. Don’t make me read your mind. I have many talents but that’s not one of them.

    Finally, why on earth is the College Board labeled “nonprofit” when they’re charging $9.50 per college that I have to send my scores to after paying them some crazy sum of money to take the test in the first place. I know postage has gone up recently, but not that much.

    I’m sorry for feeling the need to publicize my frustration, but this is ridiculous!

    • this is one of the best posts EVER! You are, of course, entirely correct. While I know many many wonderful educators that work for the College Board, if you went to their (incredibly expensive) annual event in New York you would have an even harder time swallowing the “non-profit” moniker…and yes holistic is mostly a smokescreen and of course they care about the tests – no need to apologize, it is indeed completely ridiculous!

  6. Hi Dean Flagel,
    Opened your email, clicked on your blog, and I want to thank you for your blog, it is ABSOLUTELY hilarious, I only wish I would’ve found this months ago, while doing the college tour traipse, and before the deadline season…

    Thanks for your honesty and humor, I’m done with the CSS, the FAFSA, helping with the Supplements, the Common App, and I am ready to party!!!!

    I’ve showed my glassy-eyed daughter some of your gems, most recent, most helpful, is #10 on you 12/23 post, “oh the places you’ll go”!
    GOTTA LOVE IT!!!

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