Thanksgiving Thoughts

Every Monday morning we meet as a Communications Team to talk about what is going on and what is going out that week. Basically, the agenda is broken into four parts:

1. Immediate outbound messages (aka email blasts): what are we saying to applicants and prospective students? FYI- prospective students are non-applicants who have either visited campus, met our staff during our travels, or whose name we’ve bought or been given from list sources (hm…. seems like we might need a blog soon on the entire search process, i.e. “how did you get my name?”).

2. Urgent/Fires: We’ve had 100 calls this week about X. Clearly, X is confusing on our website or in our publications, so we need to help people better understand X. Although, sometimes it’s about Y, which is dismissed as “Yeah, people are just going to call about that. It’s Y. Happens every year.” Or put differently “Y Happens.”

3. Future focus/Strategic: These are the bigger communication projects we’re working on, such as the production of videos, and publications that we’ll mail out in the coming months.

4. Social Media/ Timely: We talk a lot about helping people get a day to day sense of Tech. Pictures, stories, events… a “sense of face and place” is our basic purpose. We’ll review what we have and should be saying on social media. What is helpful and interesting? What can we learn from that engagement? Every few months we’ll discuss delving into Snapchat or whatever new social media platform is emerging. Then we’ll inevitably shelve that to “look at the analytics,” which is code for “<<insert new medium here>> just feels like we’re going too far.”

It’s in section four we talk about this blog. Have we received comments, or do people seem to be sharing it with others? What is happening right now in the admission cycle that we can attempt to bring some insight to? Or, did my kids do something ridiculous that we can somehow stretch into an analogy?

Is anyone out there?

Well, friends, this week is Thanksgiving. The basic consensus was that people are checked out. “Sure, you can write a blog but doubt anyone is going to read it.” They’re watching football, hanging out with family, sleeping, traveling. Counselors, teachers, and others in schools who may read occasionally are finished with most of their recommendation letters and just need a break. If they’re reading anything this week it’s a good novel they’ve put off for the last few months as school started and admission deadlines took over their lives.

Students aren’t reading this week either. They’re either totally checked out after meeting said deadlines, or they are focused on finishing papers or studying for impending tests. Parents… nope. Cooking, cleaning, driving, dealing with sometimes awkward Thanksgiving family dynamics (I suppose that can be said for anyone on this list).

So, you might ask, why am I already 500 words into this post? It’s a valid question. Maybe it’s because I promised to write weekly. Maybe it’s because the office is quiet right now and I can’t answer another email or continue working on bigger projects. Call it being committed, or stubborn, or even procrastination.

I say it’s because I’m thankful. I’m thankful you are only reading this because you want to this week. And to add cheesy to the list, I’m also just thankful for you. Thankful that your family is in town, or you are going to them. or that you have friends to gather with. Thankful that you get a chance to read whatever you want for a change, or just go see a  movie. I am thankful that you are going to sleep in, or nap on the couch after eating too much. I am thankful that in a fall of tests and elections and deadlines that you can take a step back.

A Time for Reflection

See, the admission process, like life, is filled with looking forward. It’s clogged and clouded with impending deadlines, decision release dates, campus visit planning, and the list goes on. But this week… this week is an oasis, a respite. It’s about reflection. It’s about sitting still for a minute and ruminating and considering. 

I’m not trying to give you homework.. but I do hope you’ll consider using a little of your downtime to brighten the week of those around you. How?

Who has helped you to this point? Who has written a recommendation letter for you, or helped you edit your essays?  Who has given you some good advice on where to apply (or where not to)?

Amidst the frenzy of the fall, we often forget to thank these people. Sure, maybe in passing or in a text, but really,  I mean really, say thanks.  I encourage you to recognize these people with a hug, or a jubilant high five, or an actual hand written, postage stamped note. Even a genuinely heartfelt email will do the trick. To make it easier for you, feel free to copy-paste or edit the following statement as needed: “Hey {name}. Thanks for writing that rec letter. I know you are crazy busy and you have written a ton this year. Whether I get into {college name} or not, I really appreciate your time and willingness to support me.”

A Note to Seniors
Mom and dad need some love too. Fall of your senior year is not easy on them. They’re excited for you, but they’re nervous. And despite what they might say, it’s not all about where you are going to get in or how much it will cost. They know a year from now you’ll be on a college campus somewhere. Maybe they don’t know exactly where, but they know you won’t be at home. Don’t let their plans to convert your room to an office or guest room fool you. Their hearts are breaking a little right now, so they could use that same hug and note.

As for me, we’ll be with my wife’s family this week. My folks will be on the opposite side of the country, but I want you to know that I plan to practice what I preach, and am getting out some note cards now.

PS – We’ll get back to Fantasy Football Admission next week with an inside look at The Bench (the Seasonal Readers). Until then, give thanks, friends. Life is good.

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Author: Rick Clark