The start of a new year and the perfect time for Admissions staff members to reflect, ponder, and resolve.  There’s always something we can improve, so here are the office-related New Year’s resolutions (some more serious than others) of my Admissions pals.  With this blog entry, you’ll know what we’re working on this year.

My New Year’s resolution is to read through every question of a GRE practice test.  It has been a long time since I’ve gone over an entire GRE exam.  (Perhaps the last time was when I took the GRE myself, about 20 years ago!)  My resolution is timely since a new computer-based GRE will be offered starting August 1, 2011.  I want to make sure that I am very familiar with this new exam that most of our applicants will be taking.

Better handwriting!
I admit it, I’ve always had pretty terrible handwriting.  While this is a somewhat embarrassing personal shortcoming, it isn’t something that others usually have to deal with — with the exception of my teachers and professors who accepted handwritten work.  That said, starting each October and continuing through early March, my colleagues on the Admissions Committee are forced to decipher my handwritten comments on application review sheets — nearly illegible comments that struggle to stay inside the small space allotted, but inevitably continue onto the other side of the page in a chaotic mess of poorly formed, blue or black-inked characters.  Laurie once commented that my writing is “amazing because it actually looks like chicken scratch.”  So, for 2011, I resolve to do better — to take my time, write clearer, and look into getting a better pen.  Yeah, that’s it:  maybe I just need a better pen.

My New Year’s office resolution is to try to prevent paper cuts.  I need such a resolution so that applications do not have blood all over them (gruesome, yes) and I won’t have to file for worker’s compensation.  Application file folders give especially deep cuts to the hands and fingers.  To prevent said cuts, especially in the winter when my skin is extra dry, I will continuously moisturize my hands with lotion.  However, I will not OVER moisturize as that will lead to fingerprints on the folders.  Such is life when processing 1800+ applications.

This New Year, I resolve not to stress out when applications come pouring in on January 15th.  I plan to keep a Zen-like mindset as I work through sorting and processing the applications in our system.  It’s easy to become very overwhelmed by the number of applications that need to be prepared for review, but over-stressing never helped anyone work faster.  So, I’m going to try something different and attempt to remain stress-free this time around.

Jeff (who heroically sent this in, just before his deadline, on a day he was sick at home):
My New Year’s office resolution is to complete blog assignments in a more timely manner.  Occasionally Jessica asks us to contribute to the blog, and I have noticed a pattern in my responses — I wait until the blog post is due, and write it with little time to spare.  When I first started at Fletcher, I was always ahead of the game in this regard, but that isn’t the case anymore.  So, this year, I will work on writing my blog posts well in advance of the due date.  Another aspect of this resolution is that I would also like to contribute more frequently to the blog.  If Jessica doesn’t mind, I will try to contribute an extra post or two per month to give her a little break.  That shouldn’t be too hard of a resolution to keep.  (Note from Jessica:  Contributions welcome!)

I solemnly swear that in 2011 I will drop my “cliptomaniac” ways.  You see, our office is good with systems.  When you work with more than 1800 applications every year — not to mention visitors, inquiries and interviewees — smooth systems are required to keep you organized.  But if you happen to be the one bad office worker who goes outside the system, you risk incurring the wrath (o.k., maybe just an annoyed sigh) of your colleagues. My particular offense is being a kleptomaniac of the clipboards which are part of our interview routine.  Somehow, they accumulate in my office until Liz runs out and knows exactly where to find them.  She dubbed me the “cliptomaniac,” but my resolution is to ensure that title disappears in 2011!  Happy New Year’s, blog readers!

And me:
Admissions work is cyclical:  Every year we do many of the same things at roughly (or exactly) the same time as the year before.  We tweak and innovate as needed, but the core activities remain.  Nonetheless, I often find myself scrolling through the previous year’s calendar to figure out which week in the semester I should recruit interviewers, revise scholarship renewal materials, or do something else I’ve done for ten years.  So my resolution is to (none too soon) create a timeline that I can refer to in setting up the next year’s calendar.  In fact, I’ve had this on my to-do list since the fall.  Raising it to a “resolution” ups the ante, and will leave me more disappointed if I fail to follow through.


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