A letter to students from the Director of Undergraduate Admission

Photo courtesy of Rick Clark

My first boss used to say that admissions is like putting together a puzzle. You look at the pieces, figure out how they fit together, carefully assemble them, take about two days to appreciate your work, and then move on.

The longer I’ve been in this field, however, the more I’ve come to appreciate it’s really you who moves on faster. Once you receive the letter starting with, “Congratulations! You’ve been admitted to the Georgia Institute of Technology,” you stop worrying about your college admission experience, and start thinking about your actual college experience.

Sure, after that you may skim a few emails from me asking to send your final transcripts, register for FASET, or keep up your grades, but understandably your focus shifts to connecting with other new students, figuring out where you are going to live, speaking with advisors, and plugging into campus.

Most years I’m okay with that. Most years I’ve done my job by getting you here and it’s time for the next puzzle.

This year, however, I’ve realized that analogy is deeply flawed.

It is true that each year our admission team has the privilege of creating the next class of Yellow Jackets. It is true we work diligently to select each unique student and marvel at how you ultimately come together. However, the puzzle image is static and does not account for the fact that we never stop appreciating your growth — individually and collectively.

I’ve also realized that while most years I’m ok with the last word you hear from me being, “Congratulations!” this year is different. This year, as we all know, is not most years. This year is all the things… unprecedented, challenging, and the list goes on.

This year, I still have something else to say… Thank You!

Thank you for choosing to be at Tech in such an uncertain time. Whether you are a returning student or a first-year, you could have stayed home. You could have gone elsewhere for financial, health, distance, or other reasons.
Thank you for being all the things we saw in your application- resilient, committed, passionate, and caring. The Georgia Tech community is better because you are part of it.

Thank you for giving us grace as we are figure out how to teach, advise, counsel, deliver courses, and build community in the middle of a pandemic.

I realize that when most of you think about our motto of “Progress and Service” you are more motivated and focused on the first word. Thank you for leaning into “Service” this year.

Thank you for caring for one another and encouraging each other. From the notes hanging from the Tech Green trees to the painted pumpkin patch to the stories of meal deliveries and birthday celebrations, as well as all the infinite unseen messages and efforts you are constantly making to lift up your friends, roommates, classmates and teammates, THANK YOU!

Congratulations! You are the Georgia Institute of Technology. And no analogy could ever capture the beauty, power, and privilege it is to be part of it with you.

Thank YOU! And Go Jackets!