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December 6, 2010 at 11:59 am
By Jaime Anthony '06, Assistant Dean

We've finally unpacked our bags from fall travel and are settling in to the next phase of the admissions cycle: reading applications!  You'll find that every admissions office handles application review differently, but at Carleton, we take a team-based approach.  Every file has multiple readers, and then we join together in committee to review the applicant pool as a whole.  These past few weeks have been consumed with reviewing the files of our Early Decision applicants, and we're now in the thick of it in committee. 

I can't share the nitty gritty details of committee but I can share a photo of my committee survival kit.  The admissions committee experience, generally speaking, has a wide array of reputations, from incredibly tense (two weeks of shouting matches and tears?) to overly haphazard (throwing darts to determine who's admitted?) to frustratingly robotic (does this applicant have the minimum GPA/SAT combination?).  Fortunately for us and our applicants, the admissions committee at Carleton isn't any of these things.  Sure, there are debates and we feel passionately about the next generation of Carls, but it's not tremendously contentious.  Unfortunately, though, it is 8 hours of sitting in a windowless room, many days in a row.  Thus, I have put together my committee survival kit, which helps keep me focused, calm, and happy throughout the entire process. 

committee kitWe read our applications digitally now, but we still have some paper in the process, and lotion is a key component to keeping my hands happy... plus, Minnesota has really dry winters.  Chewing gum: committee usually has some snacks, and the gum is key when sharing a closed room for so many hours at a time.  The pile of sticky notes are for keeping track of papers (we're not totally digital yet...) and thoughts: essays I want to add to my growing collection of "awesome college application essays," cultural references I don't know (I guess I'm not that hip), counselors I need to call, that sort of stuff.  There's one real paperclip (for clipping those last few non-digital papers) and the bent green plastic paper clip, which is a good stress reliever... same goes for the small yellow tub of Play-Doh.  Committee isn't usually too stressful, but it helps to have something for my hands to fiddle with so that my brain can stay focused. I have to wear my glasses to see the screen (one drawback of digital review), and then there are the three pens (two black, one purple), a bottle of water, lip balm (those dry winters!), and the blue pouch it all goes in! 

What would you put in your committee survival kit?  

- Jaime


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