2009 Dean’s Letter
The following was published in our annual newsletter to guidance counselors, which mailed in September 2009.
Years ago, I woke up one day and realized that I was trapped in a job I didn’t love. I won’t bore you with all the details, but I will share with you how grateful I am to have since found my way. Even on the bad days, I strive to remember that matching students with their futures is a very fulfilling gig indeed.
Every spring, I send a missive to the schools from which we received applications, outlining our admission decisions. This year, in light of the uncertainty and challenges we were all facing (and continue to face), I grappled with what to say. I ultimately decided the last thing you needed was yet another college boasting about its application numbers or selectivity. I also guessed that you had probably received more than your fair share of letters proclaiming deep pockets and a strong commitment to financial aid in spite of the increasingly daunting economy. I asked you to trust Hamilton on both fronts.
Instead, I decided to write about our admission decisions and process. The dozens of responses to that correspondence were both humbling and inspiring, and also served as a great reminder to me that I made the right decision about my career choice several years ago. At the risk of boring some of you twice, but in an effort to share the sentiment a little more broadly as we set about the business of moving yet another class through the grand admission funnel, here is an excerpt from that letter:
I’m always in awe of Hamilton admission staff members and their willingness to give up the better part of the dark months for your students; this year was no exception. Days, nights and weekends, they pored over thousands of essays and recommendations, transcripts and testing, interview logs and activity résumés. They advocated, they argued, they acquiesced. They fought for your kids (our kids) and — this is the important part I want you to know — they cared more about the applicants we didn’t admit than anyone will ever imagine.
In the end, we hope we selected the students who are the best fit with Hamilton, the ones who will grow and thrive and contribute to our community in the same meaningful ways they’ve contributed to yours. We’ve weighed and valued your input as sensitively and thoughtfully as possible. Our decisions are hardly scientific or perfect; rather, they are about as human as the students who sent us those applications. On the other hand, they aren’t as arbitrary as they may sometimes seem. For each and every candidate and decision we made, regardless of the outcome, we made every effort to be fair, consistent and respectful. We hope you will agree with our decisions, or at least support and appreciate our challenging and thorough process when you don’t. We promise to do the same for you.
As demographers, futurists and economists forecast all that we will wrestle with in the foreseeable future, let’s not lose sight of how fortunate we are to work together as partners on behalf of students, and in such a hopeful and promising profession.
As always, thanks for your collegiality and partnership.
Monica C. Inzer
Vice President and Dean of Admission and Financial Aid