Although it may seem like a distant memory now for some, nearly everyone at Tech has been through the college admissions process. This year, Tech boasts over 10,000 applicants of the high school class of 2008 from across the country and the world.
The Jan. 1 deadline for Tech undergraduate applicantions for students across the country marks one of the final stages in decisions for the admissions office. While the process of deciding who is accepted into Tech may seem easy, the lives of the five admissions officers Rick Clark, Beatrice Hegidio, Keith Jordan, Leslie Jackson and Nancy Estes prove not to be.
“[People think] that [being an admissions officer] is so much fun and so easy; that it’s so glamorous,” said Leslie Jackson, admissions officer and Women’s Recruitment Chair. “But what you don’t think about is the denials, the crying students, the sleeping in hotels when it’s Thursday night and you just want to watch Grey’s Anatomy.”
As an undergraduate officer, there are no specific degree requirements; however, graduate admissions require a college or graduate degree.
“We [the officers] come from different backgrounds,” Jackson said. “You have to love being on a college campus and you have to love college students. A major part of your job is talking to students and parents. You want to put them at ease.”
A typical day in the life of an admissions officer at Tech is dependent on the time of the year. Typically from the months of August to November, officers travel across the state and country planning, presenting, and recruiting future applicants and students at high schools and college fairs.
“A typical day in October…I fly to D.C., do three college visits and talk about Georgia Tech, then I wake up the next day and go to more high schools,” Jackson said.
From then on, the process is more concentrated in the office with files, containing applications and other various materials. Throughout the year, however, officers also lead information sessions in the Bill Moore Student Success Center twice a day with prospective students. Along with evaluating applications and determining who gets in, officers at this time are also in charge of their own recruitment sector – Clark, publications; Hedigio, Hispanic recruitment; Jackson, women’s recruitment; and Jordan, minority recruitment.
“Since I deal with all of our publications and website, I spend a good bit of time editing publications and reviewing the site to be sure our message is accurate, timely and representative of the diverse strengths of Tech. I also am in charge of all of our recruitment, so I spend a good bit of time looking at data to determine where and when our counselors should travel,” said Rick Clark, associate director of Admissions.
“Review time” does not just begin at the deciding point. Student applications are first received via mail or online. First, a file is made by handling each applicant. Since approximately 88% of applicants apply online, each student’s application is printed out from a central printer in the office. When a physical file is made, it is placed in a file room until it is read to check for test scores, verify the proper college preparatory curriculum and review discipline questions and criminal charges. Files are further evaluated for the student’s leadership and extracurricular activity. Finally, admissions officers must read each essay.
“Some are very good, and some are very bad…I think the biggest [turn-off] is when students did not take the time to work on this essay,” Jackson said.
Once the application has been read and checked, the information is then placed into the computer. Soon afterwards, officers use the computer to make their final admissions decisions, and then mail out a decision letter.
While the job has some downsides and hard times for those applying and those deciding, according to both Clark and Jackson, the job and process are rewarding in the end.
“It is fun. As a graduate of Georgia Tech, it just gives you that sense of satisfaction to know that you have a major effect on how Georgia Tech is going to be in the next 5, 10, 15 years…you could be the next astronaut. You could find a cure for cancer, win the Nobel Peace prize. That’s my favorite part of the job, staying in contact with the students,” Jackson said.
“Admissions is not an exact science. Therefore, we are always looking to ameliorate our efforts. At the end of the day, I am very proud and grateful to work at Tech,” Clark said.