Applications Up for Fall 2013
Stepping into the Kelley Center lobby at this time of year can seem slightly strange. Where are the crowds of nervous high school students flipping through viewbooks? Where are their frazzled parents telling them to stand up straight and put away their cell phones? The Kelley Center lobby is a little quieter at this time of year as high school students take a short break from visiting colleges. But don't let the quiet fool you.
Just steps from the main lobby, sitting bleary-eyed in front of glowing computer screens are "the readers,” Fairfield’s team of undergraduate admission counselors, busily reading applications. It is application reading season, a time of great industry in the Admission Department. From October to March every year, our 12 undergraduate admission counselors spend countless hours poring over the more than 9,000 online applications Fairfield receives in a year.
As Karen Pellegrino, Dean of Enrollment reports, “This year has been a great year for applications. We have the largest pool of applicants ever and we are thrilled.” Asked about the counselors, Ms. Pellegrino says, “They have their work cut out for them, but this is an exciting time and they share in my enthusiasm.”
With heads down, reading glasses on, and cups of coffee by their sides, the readers are assessing applications, calculating GPA's, reading essays, and learning everything they can about each of the applicants. Not only are the counselors looking at each applicant’s academic record with the utmost consideration, they are also reading about what makes the students’ stories their own. Whether looking at the way the students have served their communities, the sports teams they have joined, the jobs they have held, or the personal insight they offer in their essays, the readers are doing what they can to paint a complete picture of each applicant before reaching the final admission decisions.
In addition to reading the 9,000 plus applications, the counselors also spend their days fielding phone calls from any number of interested parties. Every day the counselors receive questions from guidance counselors, coaches, applicants, or their parents. The counselors are on the front lines of Fairfield’s communication with the high school student’s world. And if that wasn't enough, they are doing all this while planning for the intricacies of next year's recruitment schedule. By spring, these same counselors will be traveling to high schools from Schenectady to Seattle to San Juan. They will be hosting information sessions, open houses, and interviews, both on the road and on campus. They will be meeting with students, parents and guidance counselors spreading the word about the many great things Fairfield University has to offer the prospective student.
But for now they are settled in, dressed in their comfortable clothes, with tired eyes, reading thousands and thousands of applications, each one offering a glimpse into the hopes of a high school student who wishes to be admitted. The readers have a lot to do and the workload won’t be letting up any time soon.
So when you drop by the Kelley Center, don't let the temporary quiet deceive you. Any day now things will be heating up again and those eager high school students and their parents will be back. In the meantime, rest assured that there are big things happening behind the scenes to ensure that Fairfield University's future will be bright.