Sorry to leave you hanging after that last post. I’ll get to it.
In order to write 10,000 academic words in four days, I feel that it’s important to cleanse the palate with 1,000 non-academic words. I was provided this opportunity by an article and accompanying ed-op in The Drexel Triangle that criticized elements of Accepted Students Day, the event that i emceed last weekend.
Long, long ago i was an Entertainment staff writer for The Triangle, but i was continually unimpressed with their editorial oversight. Four years later, an opinionated editorial tone has permeated the entire paper. Combine this with a historical lack of informed journalistic research, and it’s impossible to take anything it says without a massive grain of salt. This is exemplified by the fact that the editorially-minded article in question was penned Editor-in-Chief Chris Duffy who, if past practice is any indication, takes part in writing the main ed-op in each issue.
In particular, the paper loves to lambast the administration of Drexel. Sometimes they have good reasons. However, whenever they focus on Admissions they invariable misrepresent the facts, making the department of hardworking people seem like typical administrative villains. This is not the case, and this week’s article finally motivated me to fire off a response
So, since Blogger will be on the back burner for a few days, here is my editorial in it’s full 1,070 word glory. I look forward to seeing if it has experienced any substantial edits when it hits the stands on Friday.
In last week’s editorial “Excluded Students,” The Triangle stated, “the Office of Campus Activities should have been pushing [Accepted Students Day] just as hard as it was pushing Activities Unlimited.”
This editorial statement, along with your front-page article on the subject, exposed an uninformed view of the role of the Undergraduate Admissions Office. Though I agree with the spirit of your criticism, I feel obliged to amend the perspective that it offered.
(Before I comment, allow me to offer a disclaimer. I major in Global Journalism. I served as a student employee of the Undergraduate Admissions Office for more than three years. I have also been an Orientation Leader, a Dragon Leader, and a tour guide. Additionally, I served as the emcee for the opening remarks of the event in question in exchange for a small honorarium.)
It is impossible to discount the important role that campus activities play in recruiting new students to Drexel. I have witnessed the staff in Admissions strive to stay updated on the current slate of activities via their connections to the student body, which are represented by (but not limited to) the Student Ambassadors who work in the office. Academic departments regularly brief Admissions staff with up-to-date information and revised points of contact to be passed on to prospective students, and I cannot see why OCA would not be eager to do the same. I would hope that the two offices begin to build this relationship in the near future.
Your article briefly highlighted the limited student involvement in Accepted Students day via screening the Fashion Show, featuring student performance ensembles, and showing student-produced films. What it failed to note is that many of these options were pursued by Admissions based on suggestions and feedback gathered from current Drexel students. This practice leaves me convinced that any student group that made a reasonable request to be involved in an Admissions event would be gladly included.
In your criticism, you called the “lack of space” issue preventing an Activities Unlimited style of event “implausible,” offering the Quad as a possible staging ground. What you failed to address is that during the course of an open house, hundreds of families cross the Quad repeatedly as they move from session to session. Filling this space with students and tables during any large-scale admissions event would only serve to slow the overall schedule. The OCA might occupy another space during the event, but that would further aggravate the reservation of available facilities, a practice that you rightfully criticized.
Ultimately, the solution to the perceived injustice referenced in your coverage is not the combination of Accepted Students day with an OCA-sponsored event that attempts to feature representatives from all of the active groups on campus. Such an event would be a logistical nightmare that, most importantly, would be completely overwhelming to visiting families.
In short, it’s an “implausible” solution to a simple problem.
A logical solution, based upon a review of the Accepted Students day agenda, would be to for the OCA to become a more visible participant in the Activity Fair that is held in the North Gym prior to introductory remarks. The OCA, instead of occupying a single table, could arrange for student volunteers to staff a number of tables representing a wide variety of campus groups. Students would not act as recruiters for their specific groups, which would be inappropriate prior to our deadline for matriculation, but could speak to the vast array of cultural, service, and recreational opportunities on our campus. Prospective students could then follow up with multiple points of contact regarding their specific interests.
Out of dozens of on-campus Admissions events, only Accepted Students Day and Scholars Days offer attendance by invitation only. As a result, it is not widely publicized. Your editorial calls this reasoning “absolutely ludicrous.” “Why would someone waste the time and energy,” you rhetorically questioned, “when they weren’ accepted?”
In actuality, there are several “answers” that the staff in Admissions encounters regularly. Rejected students often come to plead their case without investigating the proper channels for an appeal. Students applying late come looking for basic information that the event is not geared to supply. The families of high school juniors see no problem in planning their trips around an inapplicable event that fits their schedule rather than the Junior Open House offered in May. Accepted Graduate students also conclude, incorrectly, that the event will be appropriate for their needs.
Based on my experience, I can attest to how frustrating it can be for a family to travel to our campus for an event is not geared to their specific needs. Accepted Students Day is a special occasion meant for students in the final stage of their college search process; it is by invitation only and should remain that way.
Drexel’s student body should definitely be made aware of the full schedule of recruitment events as they approach, especially when an event will alter the normal availability of university facilities. Drexel students could easily be forewarned of events and their effect on the campus via the Drexel Daily Digest. I would encourage the Admissions office to explore this method of communication in the future.
Drexel students love to vilify our Administration, often with good reason. However, the Office of Undergraduate Admissions is not, and has never been, a villainous presence on our campus. The office’s staff is competent, committed, caring, and responsive; they recruit students in good faith with a belief that they are building a better student body for our University. They are not interested in presenting an “approved” Drexel Experience so much as they attempt to frame the entirety of our University in a way that lets prospective students form their own opinions.
Ideally, The Triangle serves a similarly important role on the campus: that of an impartial watchdog. In this case, I humbly submit that your article was overly concerned with opinionated reaction, which was emphasized by the tone of your editorial. Many of your barbed editorial questions lacked a basis in fundamental journalistic research, and as a result were as “ludicrous” and “implausible” as the policies they targeted. In short: you did not provide balanced coverage.
As a former employee of the Admissions Office and as a former writer for The Triangle, I hope that in the future this publication can offer a fairer, better-informed perspective on the Admissions Office and the events that they plan.