Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Forgotten But Not Gone

I’ve been writing Carol's Colonial Chronicles for about 9 months now, which means I could call it my baby (I know TMI). But so apropo given that much of my blog has been about being a parent of a high school senior.  And this entry is no exception!

The last time I wrote was early May, just after the Class of 2016 accepted our offer to become GW’s newest Colonials.  I really meant to make an entry before now – note the title - but I discovered, surprisingly, that preparing for my only child’s high school graduation to be all consuming!

That's her, in the front row, far left

I spent the better part of May preparing for Haven’s graduation by strolling down memory lane.  Stepping into a time machine I (re)experienced Haven’s life through all her old school pictures, report cards, and school projects. I am neither the baby book keeper nor the crafty kind of mom but this didn’t stop me from creating several memory book albums.
Haven visiting GW at age 7

I have also looked back at some of my earlier blogs and how I reacted to Haven reaching the status of “high school senior”.  One of my favorite blog entries was “My Pity Party”. It was the one about when I just returned from Senior Night at her school and expected to be presented with a handbook on how to be “the best mom ever of a high school senior”.  I stated that I wasn’t ready (even if she was) for her to go off to college; I was shocked how soon my baby bird would be leaving my nest.  

If you remember, I leaned on the lyrics of “Once in a Lifetime” to help explain my feelings – “And you may ask yourself - well...how did I get here?”

I am happy to say that the graduation ceremony, the party, the family visits and the mother-daughter post graduation trip are now great memories to cherish.  Haven loved the memory books and photo albums I made for her.

My sister asked me recently if I cried at the graduation ceremony and I didn’t. It’s a lot less of an emotional experience with a graduating class of 624 students.  But I did break down the next day when Haven and I were in the car and a song from my high school days came on – Landslide by Fleetwood Mac. A song I've heard thousands of times, can sing by heart but didn’t pay much attention to until that very moment –

Well, I've been afraid of changing
'Cause I've built my life around you
But time makes you bolder, even children get older
And I'm getting older too

I love knowing she is ready for the adventures she’ll have at GW. Haven’s all grown up. And, I guess, I am too.


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Home, Sweet, Colonials Home

Today is May 1st - the BIG decision day in admissions – also known as National Candidates Reply Date.  After today the Class of 2016 will be set in stone and this is very exciting!  My daughter has signed up for CI (see you at CI#2), housing is in the works, she has her car decal, my husband has (almost) completed his collection of GW wear, and I have my GW Mom keychain. Life is good!

So much has happened since I last wrote – we released our last round of decisions, we saw over 3000 visitors to campus for April Visit Days for Admitted Students, nearly 800 students attended one of our Admitted Student Receptions across the US and abroad, and we began to introduce GW to rising high school seniors! I promise to keep this brief plus I have a plane to catch to Memphis for the NACAC College Fair tonight and tomorrow.

I hope you've been keeping up with GW Admissions on Facebook or Twitter - my latest favorite is the GW Admissions Wobble " Flash Mob" video!  And be sure to go to the GW Class of 2016 page on Facebook - lots & lots of good stuff there!  It's almost overwhelming - in a good way. 

For the soon-to-be high school graduates, this year must feel like an eternity! I know it does for my daughter - and I don't mean Senioritis has set in. She just can't wait to get to GW. Now if anyone has Senioritis it is me - I am sick of high school these days! 

Friday, March 23, 2012

...and now back to our regularly scheduled programming

Where have I been, right? I feel like a bear just waking up from my long winter’s nap and now it is spring. Ahhh, I especially love spring in the South with all its fragrances and blossoming dogwoods, bright yellowy daffodils, and pollen (lots and lots of it). Spring in admissions is defined in several ways - recruiting juniors for Class of 2017, greeting newly admitted students on campus and most importantly the release of Regular Decision application decisions!  Just like our two Early Decision rounds, applicants were notified by email last night that admission decisions will be released today, March 23rd!!

Regular Decision applicants are the most patient bunch. For many, they have been waiting over three months to find out if they will be Colonials this fall.  It’s been a long three months for us as well – the bulk of our applicants apply in this round so we have all been nose to laptop since early January.  We have enjoyed discovering and selecting who will be in the Class of 2016. We asked you to write several essays in which you beautifully told us about your world.  While showing us how well you write and think.  We asked you a few random questions such as “What is your favorite leisure activity?” and “The best movie of all time” and your answers surprised and delighted us. Some of my favorite leisure activities were back seat driving and sleeping!  And who knew that The Shawshank Redemption would be the favorite of so many? Well, according to IMDB it is the “best movie of all time” and more than a few of our applicants decided to Google our question (no comment).

Sadly, not everyone will be happy with our decisions. But I want to reassure you all that your applications were read completely and discussed thoroughly. A few days ago there was a great article on Huff Post College all about college “rejection” letters. In my opinion “denial” is a kinder word choice here but in any case – the article offers wonderful advice if you do not receive admission to some of the schools you have applied to – including GW.  In other words, try to not see this as the end of the world!  I firmly believe in fate and not everything is in your control. Please try to not take it personally. And for anyone who received a wait list decision – this is not the end of your journey! You could easily find yourself at GW next fall. But you must follow the instructions in the wait list letter if you want to wear Buff & Blue. 

Parents, you have more than likely been very involved in this entire process with your son or daughter.  I know I have been!  There may be tears of joy or sadness in the next few days, but reassure your child (and yourself) that there is a college for everyone. The best advice I can offer to you now is to make a return visit to the schools your child has been accepted to and take advantage of any event designed for admitted students. It is possible to fall in love again.

GW Admissions staff will be traveling this spring to congratulate admitted students where they live.  We also invite them to come visit us during our annual April Visit Days (information to be included in your admit packets).

These events are an amazing opportunities to see GW from a completly different lens – that of the Future Colonial!  You will hear from our faculty and current students why they say “Only at GW”! You can tour our freshmen residence halls; learn about the many engaging academic opportunities, see the variety of student organizations and hear the gorgeous voices of our student performers.  

This is the first adult decision your child makes and it can be difficult.  Visiting GW for a second (and perhaps third) time will make the choice so much clearer to you. Can't visit GW or there isn't an event close to your home - then may I suggest you read our GW Student Blogs?

I’ll end with a few more words of advice, mostly for the moms and dads out there: celebrate each step along the way – be a sympathetic ear, an informed expert, and a caring friend – soon they start this new adventure and glad you were there to send them on their way.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

ED2 and I

As a reader I’ve been learning –
You’ll forgive me if I boast –
but I’ve now become an expert
on the Class I like the most.

Humming a tune,
singing your praises.
The Class of 2016’s
Colonial Pride amazes.

You stepped it up, interviewed,
visited, applied Early 2.
“GW is just right” you say.
Raise High the Buff & Blue!

We asked why GW? You replied
“Something happens here.
We’re freshmen during a
 Presidential election year!”

Future politicians, journalists, physicians
Dancers, and engineers, too
Congratulations you’re accepted
To GEE Double U!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Why GW?

Well, because we’re awesome! Seriously, we are. But you want to know why do we ask our applicants - Why GW?  It’s pretty simple – we want to know what our applicants are thinking about GW and what it is, exactly, that motivates, inspires, piques, compels and/or fancies them to want to become Colonials.

I’ve been reading files steadily for about three (plus) weeks.  For me, the Why GW essay is the best part of the application file. It amazes me how many applicants just really get GW.  They’ve done great research, visited, talked to people who know GW (current students, alumni, admissions people) and discovered that GW je ne sais quoi.  They succinctly roll all those feelings and ideas into a fantastic, heartfelt essay that captures the sights and sounds of GW. It doesn’t take much to push my Colonial button. If the essay is well composed, that is.  Some of you even make me cry (out of pride)! 

But, unfortunately, not all of our applicants fully understand (or rather figure out) why we ask Why GW.  These smart, often articulate students - who are perhaps overwhelmed by all they have to do on daily basis - take the easy way out with this essay.  I’ve got a great track record; separating the sincere future Colonials from the posers isn’t too hard to do.  The missteps applicants take can be fairly obvious:
  • Submitting a “One Size Fits All” essay but neglecting to change the college name (yep, happens ALL OF THE TIME).
  • Talking all about themselves and what they will major in, then plop in GW’s name in the last paragraph. Or worse, in the last sentence.
  • Omitting all mention of GW – nothing, nada, zilch.  Oh, they talk about DC but GW? Nope.
  • Cut-n-pasting the other required essay into the Why GW essay. I’m getting on in years but I can recall what I just read 3 minutes ago.
  • Saying too little – we ask for 500 words for a reason. In my book, if you love GW and want to write 1,000 words about us – go for it!  But only 50 words? Seriously.
Some of you might be thinking – now she tells me. Sorry but it’s just been on my mind lately.  So I thought would give you a short list of why I think GW is amazing:
  • University Writing courses for freshmen.  I can’t talk enough about the UW curriculum. The course titles look so interesting I really wish I could go back in time and register for any of the classes offered this semester such as “Art and Autobiography”, “The Images of Everyday Life” or “Beyond Rotten Tomatoes: Writing with Film Theory”. 
  • Our Special Interest Programs that include University Honors, Presidential Scholars in the Arts and the Women’s Leadership Programs. 
  • The Colonial Army!  The official student fan group for all things athletic at GW.  If you already know the lyrics to the GW Fight Song, this is the club for you!
  • Our traditions (just a few) – Colonial Inauguration (hopefully you will be able to experience our award winning orientation program), Fall Fest & Spring Fling, George Washington’s Birthday celebration - complete with cherry pie eating contest, our Inaugural Ball, which happens once every four years – first, you need a Presidential election to take place!
  • Service and Civic Engagement – GW students LOVE to give back!
  • Internships, research, fellowships and study abroad - opportunities that make the Colonials experience relevant, applicable and meaningful. Even for freshmen!

I can go on and on - I think I’ve Buffed & Blued you enough by now.  Anyway, I have to get back to reading applications.  I leave you with some videos I found of “Hail to the Buff, Hail to the Blue!”