By: Geoffrey Scott, Senior Assistant Director for Recruitment
I have been on-the-go since late September (Washington, Austin, Dallas, Houston, Chicago, Interlochen, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Idyllwild, and Sacramento). Yeah, it might not seem like a lot, but pepper that with high school and Youth Orchestra visits and it suddenly becomes quite a lot. You would think that after 7 years of working in admissions that I would be used to a hectic travel schedule. But for some reason, this year has been particularly tough. Sure, I love flying to different parts of the country and interacting with prospective applicants and their parents, but honestly, when you fly to four different cities in four days, the thought of going through security really loses its luster. Now don't get me wrong, the carrot on the other side of the conveyor belt, big fans, and mono-chromatically dressed TSA officials with their beeping magic wands is definitely the Cinnabon and Starbucks. However, nothing is more disappointing than going through (BEEP! Dang it's a cell phone - phew, I made it), rushing to grab your laptop, shoes, and belt to discover that your gate has NOTHING! *Sigh* Fine, a cellophane-wrapped stale bagel it is.
The scariest trip to date had to have been the fair at the Idyllwild Arts Academy. Everyone was saying it was at the top of a mountain, so I'm thinking how high could it be? Well, I found out, and I had white knuckles the whole way up and back down the mountain. The speed limit is like 35mph. This is FAR too slow for the locals who ride your bumper and do everything short of driving you off the road to get you to pull over. I'm driving and turning, turning and driving all the way up this mountain with popping ears from the elevation (I'm from Texas; we don't have mountains in Houston). I was not ready for this and prayed and swore the whole way up to the school. First I hit the sign that said 3,000 feet, then 4,000 feet and I think to myself "Oh, it's right around the next curve." Wrong! Then I hit the sign that says 5,000 feet and I am doing my best not to look over to the side (p.s. the side that had no guardrails) and panic. I don't know how Moses did it; I swear I should have been coming down from there with a set of stone tablets. I got a great tip from a local once I arrived at the college fair, and I will share this with you and feel free to pass it along: "The turnouts are for slower traffic." OH! I thought it was for me to pull off and get a look at the scenery (light dawns on Marble-head).
The highlight of this year's travels has definitely been meeting and talking with the students and their parents. Those students who walk by the table with this look of utter fear on their face until they step up, start talking, and discover that we really aren't as mean as they might have thought. What I have learned about you all is that you guys are SO savvy. You all have done your research and bring those questions that the Web site couldn't answer to these college fairs. And then, there are the parents who seem to have a couple different takes. There are those parents who come with their dancer, actor, or musician and just stand back while the student asks all their questions - occasionally shifting the weight of all the books, fliers and pens picked up from the various schools. Even when prodded with "Can I answer any questions for you while they fill out the card?" they answer "No thanks; this is all them." But there are also those parents that come by the table and ask a ton of questions, which is GREAT! As an admissions professional I know that you come to these college fairs to gather information, and honestly I don't feel as though I've done my job if you leave and still have questions. So come up; we are way friendlier than you think. I promise!
My last trip for the fall is coming up this weekend, and then I'm back for the remainder of the fall - YAY! Now my question is this: How am I going to do all of this next year with a puppy? Your thoughts are greatly appreciated.