This fall has been a season of real reflection. The last time we made a comeback, it didn’t take ten minutes before some douche on Twitter criticized us for being part of the problem instead of the solution (again).
We know, we know. You all love us. And it took several months for us to realize Admissions Problems needs to be a priority. Grousing about people brings us great joy and delight. Note: We learned the word “grousing” from an essay this fall. Grousing, FTW.
Let’s start over if we can.
Hello, we’re Admissions Problems. Our life is cross between Fight Club and the Devil Wears Prada without the great salary, outlet for aggression, free clothes or support groups. What we’re left with is bitchy people, a heinous leadership team, IKEA furniture and a great deal of time spent bleary-eyed on airplanes. We like Hilton Diamond status, harsh application readers, proper grammar and bartenders that pour doubles without being prompted to do so.
Over the past few months, we’d still check messages here on the blog, and we’re continually fascinated by the number of college seniors considering a career in this field. Add to that their desire to seek advice from Admissions Problems. Hilarity ensues.
For all the seniors out there thinking about a career in Admissions (and for those of us that just want to reflect), this is for you.
THE TOP 5 THINGS WE WISH WE KNEW BEFORE BECOMING AN ADMISSION OFFICER
5. Taking (and passing) Statistics is key. Well, shit. Who knew so much of this career would be looking at reports and analyzing data? What was the conversation and yield rate in this territory last year? What if we meet 50% of their need versus 75%? Where is the EPS report telling us the out-of-state mobility rate for students in the 1250-1350 band who have a household income of $100,000+? WTF. There are absolutely days we sit in our office trying to predict what will happen in our territory like:
But all we can come up with is:
Don’t say you weren’t warned.
4. How to properly fold a bed sheet will keep you sane.
Ours is the one on the right. It took 45 minutes to fold it like that.
If you can’t fold a bed sheet, you can’t fold a table banner. And this skill is necessary and essential to your well-being during travel season. Believe us, your leadership team will say they are going to purchase you a polyester banner because it will resist stains, won’t wrinkle, blah, blah, blah. It’s really because those banners are dirt cheap, and it’s entertaining watching you try to fold it.
Imagine trying to steer a herd of small kittens hyped up on catnip into a pen with a large pack of snarling wolves protecting the gate. That’s what it’s like trying to fold a super-slippery cheap ass polyester table banner. As soon as you get one end folded, the other has already slipped off the table and is pooling on the floor. A nearby table of veteran admission counselors starts to snicker. Maybe one offers to help you. As if you aren’t sweaty enough, you feel the heat start to rise inside your jacket, and you instead choose to ball that piece of shit up, shove it into your travel bag and run out of the high school gym cursing obscenities under your breath at that inanimate pain-in-the-ass. After all, it’s not supposed to wrinkle.
And what happens the next day? You get to your visit, having let go of all the anger and frustration from the previous evening, pull out the banner and…
3. Having parents who cook well will destroy you. We luckily had a mother who cooked almost every single night growing up. We’re not talking beanie-weenies and macaroni casserole. Legitimate meals. Restaurant-esque meals. Meals we bragged about for years to friends, significant others, anyone who would listen. College and the lack of edible food was an incredibly tough adjustment. When we graduated from college and took our first full-time job in the Admission Office, we thought we were home-free. Promised Land, We Are Home. Bring on the high quality meals.
Fast forward to our first travel season. Growing up, “soup and sandwich night” was not a thing in our house. So imagine our surprise when “
soup and sandwich night” became a thing FOR THREE STRAIGHT MONTHS. We’d walk into a fair, see the familiar unclothed table with unmarked, white cardboard boxes and stark, unimaginative signs proclaiming that one stack was “Turkey” and the next was “Beef”.
Those dreary signs weren’t lying - we had to adjust to two pieces of cold bread with some lukewarm magazine-thick turkey being how we defined “dinner”. Exciting days were when we received a tomato slice or lettuce. Even better days were when the tomato and lettuce were edible. We’re glad to show you the drug store receipts from our first travel season: anyone who invested in Proctor & Gambel (therefore indirectly investing in Pepto Bismol) probably noticed a little spike in their portfolio. You’re so welcome.
We love you, mother amoeba. But damn you for not taking us dumpster-diving for din-din at least a few times in our life.
2. A thick skin in necessary. You would think this is one of those inspirational jobs where you get to see the tangible results of your hard work. And, in some cases or at particular colleges or universities, you do. Getting there is the issue.
A job as an Admission Officer puts up with an inordinate amount of bullshit. Please see admissionsproblems.tumblr.com for more information and real life examples. There are days where you’ll want to cut perfect strangers and, conversely, bear-hug others that show you just a little bit of common decency. It’s a manic job.
Everyone going into this field needs to have the following pep talk provided to them by the most jaded person in their new office:
There are days you’ll want to quit. There are days when you’ll want to punch a parent, student, guidance counselor, rental car agent, hotel manager, or barista who fucked up your morning latte straight in the face. There are days when performing a root canal on yourself will sound more appealing than making idle conversation with anyone, let alone prospective students and their obnoxious parents, but put on a moderately happy face to get through it. You can always pretend you have to vomit unexpectedly if you need an easy out on a conversation/high school visit/college fair. You’ll have moments where your GPS will lead you for the umpteen time into an abandoned alley, and you’ll consider getting out of the car, setting up a tent and starting a new life in that alley. You’ll have moments where you simply can’t read another application without feeling the overwhelming need to weep for the future of this country and global community. You’ll consider cracking your personal checkbook open to cover a student’s financial gap just to get the most fucking annoying mother ever to stop calling you. Speaking of, never, under any circumstances, check your online bank account unless you ready to accept the reality that you have no money. At the end of the year, you will have poured your heart and soul into thousands of kids, and they will choose to go to other colleges. And you have to let them go. The only thing that keeps all of us hanging on is alcohol. So, here’s a bottle of Jack. Drink up, newbie.
1. Take an effing ridiculously awesome driver’s license photo.
Do any of you realize how much that photo is used and displayed as an Admission Officer? Since our home state is comprised of a bunch of tight-wadded politicians that refuse to appropriate funding to government offices like the DMV, we still have the same driver’s license photo that we originally took at the ripe age of 16. Imagine going into a high school visit with your teen self - braces, Student Council tee shirt, making that goofy-happy “I JUST GOT MY LICENSE, BITCHES!!” face - plastered on a sticker. Then imagine prominently displaying that shit on your suit lapel.
You embarrassing, vile, wicked piece of evil.
Depending on the number of high schools you visit that use Raptor or Lobby Monitor, you’ll collect dozens of these stickers. You’ll be required to wear them during your entire visit. Forget trying to put them on your bag, arm, pant leg, side of shoe, back of neck. We’ve tried it all to no avail.
Take our advice: you better look like effing Beyoncé in that photo, or it’s time to start considering a new career.
Now, on to the real question at hand. We’re not committing to posting daily, but we’ll do as much as we can. We’ll start checking Twitter and Facebook again regularly as well. We are considering taking on an intern to assist. Inquire within. Here’s to Friday, amoebas.