Bring on Reading Season! (And a note on Early Decision)
Reading Season is here! Reading Season is here!
My colleague Brittnei already has her Christmas decorations planned. She has a spreadsheet of the Christmas gifts she's giving this year, her iPod is stocked with Christmas carols, and her winter boots all have red baubles on them to signal her excitement for the holiday season. She even has bright red earmuffs to complete the ensemble.
I measure time a bit differently. Once Halloween passes and stores start stocking their oranges-and-browns or reds-and-greens, my mind turns to the crisp promise of a newly opened application.
Brittnei is all agog over our first snowfall, but I'm itching to throw myself into your applications and get to know you through your words. Saint Nick keeps a naughty and nice list to help him navigate the season; I have a running tally of your challenging classes and academic interests. And forget caroling; I'll be completely engrossed in your essays, recommendation letters, and lists of extracurricular activities and quirky projects.
In case you need a visual, this is me during Reading Season:
Like many other colleges, we have two rounds of Early Decision, EDI and EDII. Both rounds require students to sign a binding agreement that, should they be admitted, they will attend Oberlin in the fall. Our deadline for EDI is tomorrow. I know the Common App has been a bit tricky for some students and schools to navigate, but we're working with individual applicants and their guidance counselors, and so far the applications look fine on our end. We're on track to mail our decision letters for EDI by mid-December.
So what's the deal with two rounds of Early Decision?
Oberlin is all about options and forging your path through the academic and social landscape. For some students, November 15th is simply too early to make a commitment to a school. Others won't even discover Oberlin until December 10th. Some students will be poking around on our website at the end of November and suddenly realize that yes, we do have an engineering 3-2 program and that our English majors have to do original research. That might change everything -- and with the EDI deadline already passed, EDII might become those students' choice.
Your process to find the school(s) that fit you is just that: your process. We know that finding us happens differently for different students. We take about one third of our entering first-year class through the two rounds of Early Decision, but there isn't a huge difference in EDI or EDII. The main difference is that EDI tends to attract a larger group of applicants than does EDII.
What this means is that we're looking for a sense of engagement and enthusiasm for Oberlin (after all, if you're admitted through one of the ED rounds, you'll definitely be joining us), and we're still looking for a strong academic profile. Oberlin is rigorous, and we are looking for students who will thrive in this particular academic environment. But we're also looking at your application in a smaller pool of applicants, and we're reading you -- for the most part -- separate from your school group.
But the real joy of ED? You'll know early that you're in the class, and you can start making plans for what you're going to do at Oberlin, where you're going to spend your time, what you're going to bring with you to make your dorm room a home. And as I open up another file, I'll be thinking, "who'll make a good roommate for ---? Who'll be best friends with ---?"
Class of 2018, I can't wait to meet you, and I haven't even read you yet!