Regular Decision notice for the Yale Class of 2012 comes out this Monday, March 31st. This post is addressed to both the regular decision and early action members of Yale 2012, and is posted on the admitted students website as well as my own blog.
This is my first for the Yale admitted students web site, so if you are reading this there--congratulations on your admission! My name is Sam Jackson and I am a member of the Yale class of 2011. I'm from Newton, MA (right outside Boston) and I'm in Trumbull college here at Yale. Some of you may already know me from 'real life' or might have been reading my blog already--others know me only as some random member of Yale 2011. This post is addressed to all of Yale 2012 but also applies to anyone who is wondering whether my credibility is impacted by my new role as an 'Undergraduate Recruitment Coordinator' on the Yale payroll with the admissions office. I just wanted to take a moment to introduce myself and explain some of my motivations in blogging.
I've spent the last two and a half years blogging about college admissions and higher education marketing trends, reaching (among others) an audience of admissions officers and professionals as well as higher education marketers. I've used that access to call for more honest and authentic marketing efforts and for greater transparency and access in general. I also blogged about my college admissions process since it began, and today continue to blog about life here at Yale. As all of you readers are no doubt intimately aware, applying to college sucks.
I wish it didn't have to be like that. My efforts to convince people to change their ways haven't exactly had an instant payoff. Right now I'm organizing a way to offer large sums of money for a scholarship to the student who can think up some of the best solutions (more on this later!) but that won't affect what you have already had to suffer through... and I can only offer my condolences for the painful, stressful process. It's not quite over yet, but the worst is behind you. Choosing can be maddening, but it's better than having no choices at all... and if you're reading this at admits.yale.edu, it means one of your choices is Yale. So, could definitely be worse.
I am blogging exactly as I always have been, only now I get paid for what I was already doing. Truthfully, I would pay Yale if it meant that I could easily reach all of you admitted students! (Coincidentally, so would a lot of other, less reputable people--Yale and other schools wouldn't sell your information, but huge amounts of money are spent to buy up your contact information once you reach college-admissions age. When you took the PSAT or SAT, and then wondered how you subsequently got huge volumes of mail, it's because the College Board sold your personal information if you consented to the 'student search service.' Of course, the problems of the College Board are another story, one I chronicle often: e.g., a year ago I detailed 51 ways your SAT could be mis-scored, none of which the College Board would want you to know about, because things like that might reduce public confidence in the security of their testing procedures.)
I hope you'll give me the benefit of the doubt when it comes to blogging credibility. If it were about the money, after all, my main interest wouldn't be Yale--I get an order of magnitude more money from direct advertising than I do by being paid $12.80 an hour to blog for Yale. My bread and butter has always been leveraging my cynicism and negativity towards marketing efforts and institutions which I feel are not effectively serving students--especially prospective students.
I have a few posts on my blog explaining why I matriculated to Yale, why I wanted to go, a few cheerleading Yale, etc. But I also have quite a few more calling Yale out for all the things it does wrong, and things that could be improved. In fact, the way I actually came to this position--blogging for you now--was through a post I made last July attacking the admissions office for its position on official admissions blogs-- that is, blogs where the admissions officers themselves are blogging, but which can (and generally should) also incorporate student voices. This admitted students website has student blogs, but they are not publicly accessible (i.e., publicized). If you are interested in more of my writing on the subject, it's what I've been writing about for years on my blog and the topic of my presentation at the 2007 College Board Forum in New York--I'll stop ranting for now.
So... expect to see lots of posts on why Yale is failing to recruit more low-income students, problems about its admissions practices, and other problems along with all the nice things I have to say. I have lots and lots of great things to say and write about Yale--I love it here. Maybe you're already in love with Yale, too; maybe you're not sure yet. Either way, you have a lot to look forward to next yearm whether it's at Yale or anywhere else.
(Whatever your level of excitement, congratulations on your admission to Yale-- I am excited to find out more about everyone joining us next year!)