Goodbye, travel… hello, reading!

It’s over, folks. As of last Friday, October 31, I am officially done with my Fall 2008 recruitment travel. I finished things up with a very busy week in Philadelphia (and what a week it was to be in Philly… go Phils!!! – and if you’re wondering why I’m a fan, remember where I come from).

A couple of stats on the months of September and October in the life of Tom Nicholas, Admission Counselor:

  • Weeks on the road: 7
  • States visited: 6
  • Cities visited: 14
  • High schools visited: 153
  • College fairs attended: 8
  • Interviews conducted: 41
  • Students I met: 2,134

And that’s why I may not have e-mailed you back right away! Seriously, though, I’ll be catching up on e-mail all week. And I’ll be settling back into life at home. It’s a big transition – sleeping in my own bed again, catching up with friends, buying groceries for more than three days at a time – and it’s a welcome change. As much as I love traveling and meeting wonderful students, there’s no place like home, and it’s good to be back. Seeing Lee, whose office is next to mine, for the first time in two months was really exciting this morning; it’s kind of like a big reunion for us as we come back to the office from all corners of the world!

Meeting wonderful students over the past two months has also gotten me pretty excited about reading applications. And none too soon, since it looks like I may begin reading some Early Decision applications this week! The transition from travel to reading occurs pretty quickly for us; some of my colleagues are still on the road this week, and they’ll come back next Monday right into the official start of ED reading. We start reading as soon as possible to make sure we have ample time to spend with each ED application before going into committee and releasing decisions by December 15.

This is one of the things I love about the admission profession – it’s a great balance of change and continuity. Just as travel season is really starting to wear on you, it ends, and you get to spend the next four months in your office reading applications. And just when that’s starting to wear on you, spring open houses begin, and you’re back outside around campus. But throughout it all, there’s the constant thread of working with prospective students, speaking with students, and learning about students, which is what admissions is all about.

I’ll have more to say about reading season in a future post, but I just wanted to take a moment and let you know where things stand with us right now. Our officers are wrapping up travel and returning to the office, while our Operations team is busy receiving and processing all of the applications and materials we are receiving (more and more each day!) It’s an exciting time of year for us as we switch gears from meeting students to learning even more about them in their applications.

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