Continuing today with my guest bloggers, Kristen reports on a day of reading applications.

Unlike Jessica, I had a toasty and warm reading day last week. I decided to flee my drafty 1850’s-era house in favor of a favorite nearby café, Bloc 11. Not only do they have delicious egg and cheese sandwiches (morning treat) and a rich Caramel Rooibos Latte concoction (afternoon treat), they also have a small alcove in the back corner with just a few tables and a fireplace. I pulled out my iPod (Dido and Mercedes Sosa were favorites), my selection of pens and pencils, and got to work. It was the perfect place to spend my day (and, unfortunately, quite a bit of money on the aforementioned treats … plus some).

One of the nice things about a reading day is that you get fully immersed in the flow of application reading. It’s not only about reading the essays and deciphering transcripts from other countries; it’s also about thinking critically about the applicant as a whole and trying to craft a descriptive, detailed, accurate, yet still concise write-up. When I return to the file a month later, I need to remember the candidate at a glance without reviewing the entire application again. For me, this can be the hardest part. So many applicants have so many interesting things to offer, and I’m inclined to re-write every little accomplishment in my description: He’s an Eagle Scout! She trekked through East Africa alone for six months! His work for the government was so entrepreneurial and interesting! By the end of the day, I realize my hand is cramping and I’ve written about twice as much as I’ve needed to.

On my reading day, though I sat alone in a café for many long hours, I had the pleasure of “meeting” so many of you through your applications, and that’s the real pleasure of our jobs here at Fletcher.


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