Tuesday, March 1, 2011

American Idol and Admissions

Since 2002, there has been one constant in my household; From January through March, two nights a week, my family will be watching American Idol while I read admissions files. The judges have changed, the contestants are younger, there are more Ford commercials than ever, but my family is still watching. When I take a break from reading files, it is interesting for me to look the contestants, and think about how it relates to admissions. While there are probably a number of different connections that could be made about American Idol and college admissions, I will focus on one in particular; attitude.

One of the worst (or best) parts of the show are the reactions of the contestants that are not selected for Hollywood during the first few weeks of each season. Some will say thank you, some try to sing more songs, some will cry, and some will launch into a tirade of bleeped out words and hand gestures.

In the same way, admissions offices receive a number of reactions after a student is denied admission. Some will say thank you, some will cry, and some will lash out at our admissions team. The first two reactions are just fine, as we expect both of them. But my suggestion is to make sure you do not take the third option. Too many times, whether it is comments on this blog, phone calls, emails or visits to our office, parents and students will lash out at our staff, the University, their counselors, and even their classmates if they are not admitted. While this may be a natural reaction for some, make sure you think about your actions. Remember how the contestants on American Idol look when they lash out, and ask yourself if this is how you want an admissions office to view you, and what you want to accomplish with your communication. If students or parents threaten legal action, we direct them to Legal Affairs and state that we have to now stop the conversation. If someone starts swearing or using foul language, we let them know that this conversation is no longer productive and we end the call. If a comment has foul language or inappropriate information, it will be deleted.

So during this time of waiting, make sure to hope for the best, but know how to react if the decision is a denial. I do not want this to be a depressing post, but as I have always said, I want to be honest and open with my blog, and give the best advise possible.

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