The Professor's Role in Admissions

As we sat in the admissions office, waiting to meet with a tardy faculty member, my daughter said she liked the place and could see herself enrolling there. But that quickly changed when the brusque and standoffish young professor arrived, coldly staring down at us and simply saying, “So what do you want to know?”

His responses were terse to the point of being defensive. He seemed to know little about his own program, told us some of the advantages of other colleges that we said we were considering, and seemed intimidated when my daughter shared her work experience with a major company in the field. We quickly concluded that he didn’t want to be engaged in this conversation — he obviously had something much better to do, and in less than five minutes, he was gone. My daughter walked to the car saying that she had gone from liking the place to “no way” wanting to attend there after meeting the professor. —Stephen M. WinzenbergThe Professor’s Role in Admissions (Chronicle of Higher Education)

I agree completely that in a small liberal-arts college (SLAC), the perceived approachability and availability of the faculty is very important.

There was one day over the summer when I had three meetings with families scheduled. A few days after I accepted these appointments, my wife asked me to change my office day so that we could do something else as a family. She wasn’t very happy when I said no.

So I drove to the office during the summer break to meet with potential students. The first appointment didn’t show. The second appointment didn’t show. Thankfully, the third did show.

That was a particuarly bad day, but I’d say that at least 1/3 of the time, people don’t show, or they show up so late that I can only shake hands with them before my next appointment arrives. So let me add my request… if you’re planning to do the college tour with your family and your schedule changes, please let the college know, so that professors like me who’ve fought with their spouses in order to keep their appointments with you won’t be left high and dry.