As a recent survivor of the college admissions process, I have witnessed firsthand the battle scars that the entire process leaves behind on you. Even to this day, tingles of anxiety run down my back when I see notifications from colleges scouting for new applicants: Loyola Admissions, Explore your future in New Orleans; Long Island University, $100 Million in Scholarships & Grants. These emails are just one of many lost in the depths of my junk folder.
Our job is now done; we have successfully convinced the admissions committee that we are a valuable asset to the university — now it is their turn to convince us to become a part of their student body. The college experience is more than the degree you earn: it is about the relationships you build here, the mistakes you encounter and the lessons you learn from them, as well as a general sense of belonging with campus culture.
Other colleges approach this remarkably well. Yale recognizes that it is their turn to convince students to choose them and hosts Bulldog Days for admitted students to explore campus and experience the Yale experience firsthand. According to Yale’s website, current students host these admitted students and prepare different events to show everything Yale has to offer. Participating in these events is a great opportunity for admitted students to meet their future classmates and to build a community before stepping foot on campus in the fall.
While Cornell does host an admitted students day, it was only available to students admitted in the regular decision round this year due to limited space capacity. Cornell Days were filled with campus tours for admitted students, student panels and meet-and-greets, but many wondered if it was worth the complications and financial burdens that students face when traveling to Cornell. COVID has also further complicated matters and made it difficult for students to experience campus as it was pre-pandemic.
Yet, focusing their interest on regular decision admits is also harmful for students who were accepted through early decision; their early commitment to Cornell should not deny them opportunities to attend events that were created to make connections between admitted students.
Colleges don’t necessarily have to invest a lot of resources into marketing for admitted students. Sometimes, smaller and more thoughtful actions are better appreciated. Schools like Duke University send out commitment packages filled with various cheesy goods like water bottles and school flags. Despite the cheesiness, this affirms the student’s choice to attend that particular university because they feel appreciated. It is an exciting feeling to build school pride before coming onto campus, and this can often ease the transition of entering a new environment in the fall.
Most colleges host events for admitted students in various large cities so students have the opportunity to meet each other and learn more about the university without having to travel to the university itself. It is an easier way to build connections with current students that doesn’t require additional travel costs, especially for students who live far away from Cornell. It is also a rewarding experience to see the fruits of your labor after the arduous college application process. Attending these events with the realization that you have accomplished your goal is a gratifying feeling. Yet, Cornell barely puts in any effort in engaging admitted students with these events. Although some alumni host send-off parties for committed students, there were no opportunities for admitted students to connect with each other in the spring. It is frustrating to feel that the school you dedicated the past couple of months to barely appreciates their students and doesn’t put in any effort in creating school pride.
Cornell is foremost a community: students from all over the world travel to be educated in this beautiful institution and invest a lot of their time and resources to hopefully receive an acceptance letter. They come here not just for the academics or the resources but for the people. Cornell could take the first step to foster this community by creating a welcoming atmosphere for all admitted students, whether they were admitted through early or regular decision. They could host welcome receptions for admitted students in April and help build the Cornell community in its early stages.
As a new member of Cornell’s community, I would have appreciated these opportunities to build connections with my classmates before arriving on campus. As we ease into a new application cycle post-pandemic, Cornell should take a step back and prioritize both rounds of admitted students and offer plenty of opportunities to discover all that Cornell has to offer. Through this, we can create a stronger Cornell community for years to come.
Adin Choung is a freshman in the College of Human Ecology. She can be reached at [email protected] A Dinner is Served runs every other Thursday this semester.