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Reading, Reading, Reading

Posted by on Thursday, January 21, 2010 in Commons, File Reading Explained.

At this time of the year the life of an admissions officer means one thing: reading applications. Here at Vanderbilt we are inundated with applications and luckily a few days a week I will read applications at home or on campus.

Today I am reading in my favorite (and only) reading spot on campus: the Commons Center which is the heart of the Commons, the first year residence community. I have been venturing to the Commons Center to read applications since my first reading day in 2007. It is very easy to get caught up the sheer volume of applications that I am responsible for (at last look 1032 applications from the Bay Area, Southern NJ and Westchester County) and this is precisely why I read applications in the Commons.

It is here in the Commons, where I am surrounded by exactly what we as an admissions officer are working towards: the next freshman class. Grabbing a quick lunch in the Commons Dining Center or a snack at the Common Grounds, I see last year’s work in action, enjoying the state of the art student center. Occasionally, I even run into some of my students from last year which is a good reminder that behind each application is you the student. Seeing the current freshmen class active in the Commons reminds what a great job I have, I help select the next class of Commodores. It is here in the Commons where I am reinvigorated to continue reading applications. Crazy to think that in only eight months we’ll be helping the next class on Move-In Day!

The essays that I have read today have been spectacular and a few have even cracked into my pantheon of favorites. Since I have seen so many good essays today let me offer some friendly advice to all of you juniors out there who will soon be writing your college essays:

1) Keep it simple: The 1-2 page essays usually work the best because they are pithy and powerful.

2) You are the PROTAGONIST: I want to learn about you, so write about yourself, a powerful relationship or experience that you have had etc. I want to finish the essay and feel like I know you.

3) Write what you want to write: If you haven’t learned it yet you will learn this lesson soon enough, you do your best work when you are passionate about the subject, so pick a topic that you love.

That’s all for now – back to the applications!

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