Sunday, April 26, 2009


It’s a time of the year when uncertainty about the class keeps admission deans up at night. Why do admitted students wait until the last minute to let us know their decision? Hold on, are students waiting until the last minute? Will the class come in over target? Under? Will my favorite students of the year say yes or defect to Other U? Is it too early to go to the wait list? Or too late?

At this point in April, Grinnell is now through three campus open houses, countless phone calls, letters and email to admitted students, and by last count has spawned three Facebook groups for the Class of 2013.

Friends, colleagues, complete strangers and even family have told me loudly this month that they’d never want my job. I can see their point, especially during this last week of April, as every shred of statistical skill, prognosticating ability, and human intuition is called upon to assess (guess?) the likely behavior of 17 year olds and their families.

So far 200 new Grinnellians have decided to call Grinnell home for the next four years. Actually, I just got the good news on email that a paralympian hopeful has decided on Grinnell. That makes 201 interesting and talented individuals in the Class of 2013, which is about half of who we’re looking for this year (first year class target = 385) but also where we expected to be at this time of the month. The next few days will see a great sorting out of interest and fit with (perhaps) a few coin tosses thrown in for the truly undecided. Of course for many families, affordability remains a major concern. If your family’s financial circumstances have changed dramatically in the last year, do yourself a favor and talk to the financial aid office. For more on this topic, see the April 24th article, In Trying Times, Colleges Willing to Boost Financial-Aid.

Grinnell has a reputation for attracting adventurous pioneers- those with an exploratory urge, an interest in world and societal issues, and with the temperament to thrive in a challenging academic environment. I expect no less this year.

May 1st may loom but it is still 5 days off; 120 more hours to contemplate and snatch a few winks here and there.

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