October 22–24, 2015
Committee Chair Kim Buresh ’90 opened the session with a welcome and a preview of the meeting. She then asked councilors to introduce themselves.
Paul Sunde, director of admissions and interim dean of admissions and financial aid, and William Corbett ’10, senior assistant director of admissions, provided important updates. A policy change going into effect this year is that admissions for international students is now need aware rather than need blind. This change will align the international population with the College’s overall enrollment goals by enabling Admissions to strategically and sustainably recruit a larger cohort of international students while continuing to enroll a group that is geographically, culturally, and socio-economically diverse. It is important to note that Dartmouth will continue to meet 100% of need for admitted students, both international and domestic.
Paul Sunde also talked about a new application platform called The Coalition for Equity, Access and Success. This grew from the collaboration of more than 80 (and growing) public and private colleges and universities that are committed to affordability, access and success for students from diverse backgrounds. The application provides a free platform of online tools that will encourage self-reflection and long-range planning with the goal that students from under-resourced backgrounds will begin to think about college at a younger age and start the planning that is needed in order to be competitive in highly selective schools’ applicant pools.
William Corbett covered the realignment of the SAT. The test is evolving to be more based on high school curriculums and will use words in context (no more “SAT” words) and remove the penalty for guessing. The College Board has partnered with Khan Academy to provide free, personalized SAT preparation online.
Meg Lysy ’99, director of the Admissions Ambassador Program, gave an overview of the Alumni Relations/Admissions partnership. The Enrollment and Admissions Committee had helped build the case for this position to be created and it was gratifying for the group to see their efforts rewarded. Meg presented a few key “lessons learned” from last spring’s Moosilauke Forum survey on interviewing and how the program was addressing these challenges. One key take away was that prospective volunteers, particularly young alumni, worried that the alumni interviewing program was too much of a time commitment. Therefore an effort has begun to publicize the fact that alumni can interview a student in one hour – from setting it up to writing the report. Another piece of feedback was that interviewers didn’t understand how the reports were being used and didn’t feel well equipped to answer questions. The new program has focused on increased training and communication to all volunteers.
Ideally, the alumni interviewing program will include more ways to be involved than just interviewing. Alumni could be involved in recruiting students, working with high schools to staff college nights and other college readiness activities, and helping with yield efforts or mentoring once a student is at Dartmouth. The rollout of the brand “Admissions Ambassador Program” will be ongoing but the thrust of the focus is based on feedback generated from the Moosilauke Forum Survey.
In hopes of reaching more students than ever for an interview, Class of 2016 students are interviewing prospective students as part of a virtual “Skype” district. The focus for this district is candidates with an APO address (military abroad), some rural students and local Hanover area applicants.
The open session generated many insightful questions, including how international students view Dartmouth and whether the fact that Dartmouth is a college rather than a university impacts their impressions. The discussion also covered the transfer process at Dartmouth and how transfer students can be a great gateway to students of lower socio-economic status as well as veterans. Dartmouth is part of the Posse veterans program and will be bringing its first group of 10 veterans to campus through the Posse program in the fall of 2016. A good suggestion was made that training should be offered as to the best way to conduct a Skype interview most effectively.
In closing, Kim Buresh encouraged all committee members to sign up to interview the Class of 2020.