EDITORIALS

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January 8, 2010

Return to sender

Admissions’ decision to send out accepted applicant’s essay added unnecessary stress to process

The admissions office has made an effort over the years to take unnecessary stress out of applying to the College—its user-friendly Web site and the Uncommon Blog are good indications of this. Over winter break, Dean of Admissions Jim Nondorf tried something more unorthodox to help put applicants at ease. Two weeks before the January 2 admissions deadline, he e-mailed an essay written by an accepted applicant to thousands of other aspiring students, saying he hoped it would “[lighten] your mood, [reduce] any end–of–year stress and, [inspire] your creative juices in completing your applications.” Yet the decision to release the essay, which garnered hundreds of comments on the College Confidential Web site and led to an article in The New York Times, seemed to have just the opposite effect for many students.

Some of the posters on College Confidential complained that the essay, written as a love letter to the school, was too sexually provocative. But those who blush at the essay’s cheeky euphemisms may want to reconsider attending an American university that is not Oral Roberts. The real problem with Nondorf’s e-mail was its timing—releasing one applicant’s essay before the final deadline put all the other applicants on uneven footing. Several students who had not yet submitted their essays expressed their bewilderment on College Confidential, wondering whether they should change their essays for being too similar or too different from the one Nondorf sent out. On the other hand, applicants who had already submitted their essays did not have the advantage of seeing such a clear-cut example of what the admissions office enjoyed.

College applications are stressful enough for today’s high school seniors. The admissions office should have put more thought into their decision to release the essay, and either sent it out after the application deadline—or not at all.

— The Maroon Editorial Board consists of the Editor-in-Chief, Viewpoints Editors, and an additional Editorial Board member.