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Fellow  Johnnies,     In  light  of  all  the  conversation  and  controversy  surrounding  the  way  we  choose  to   market  ourselves  to  the  outside  world,  I  thought  I  would  take  a  moment  to   contribute  something  new  to  the  conversation:  an  explanation  of  the  role  of  the   Admissions  Office  in  the  life  cycle  of  a  prospective  student.  Little  to  nothing  has  been   said  to  this  effect  thus  far,  and  I  believe  an  explanation  of  our  role  might  soothe   some  doubts  and  fears  about  enrolling  a  class  of  ill-­‐informed  or  misled  freshmen   next  year  (or  any  year,  really).     Students  come  to  us  through  a  variety  of  means:  mainly  recommendations  from   parents,  teachers,  counselors,  and  alumni,  all  of  whom  already  convey  an  authentic   message  about  the  College.  Others  come  to  us  through  a  common  college  practice   called  “search,”  where  thousands  of  names  are  purchased  according  to  pre-­‐specified   criteria.  Students  on  these  lists  receive  "marketing"  materials—print  and  digital— on  the  College.  Whatever  the  publication,  the  cover  is  usually  “The  Following   Teachers”  (and,  as  a  side  note:  this  cover  always  seems  to  be  more  memorable  than   its  content,  which  changes).  Still  others  come  to  us  anonymously,  having  found  our   website  on  a  search  engine  or  through  various  online  college  search  sites.     However  students  arrive  in  our  database,  they  all  then  receive  a  series  of  emails  and   mailings  about  the  College  designed  to  catch  their  interest  and  convey  essential   information  about  what  we  do  and  who  we  are.  The  printed  pieces,  incidentally,   were  reworked  a  few  years  ago  to  include—gasp!—color  photos  (a  real  affront  to   those  who  received  the  austere  Neustadt  publications  of  yester  yore)  but  continue   to  feature  "The  Following  Teachers.”    At  present,  we  are  re-­‐evaluating  this  print  mail   campaign  as  we  seek  more  student  voices  in  our  communications  and  the  ability,  at   times,  to  connect  more  quickly  using  digital  pieces.  Regardless,  initial  outreach   communications  are  geared  to  the  general  public.  Yet  once  a  prospective  student   indicates  real  interest—by  meeting  us  at  a  college  fair,  emailing  or  calling  with  a   question,  beginning  an  application,  etc.—an  admission  counselor  takes  over.  The   process  becomes  personal.     Our  marketing  pieces  are  simply  that:  marketing  pieces.  They  are  designed  to  snag   people's  interest  and  make  them  look  a  little  bit  deeper.  Once  intrigued,  students   work  with  the  admissions  counselors,  who  thoughtfully  and  carefully  answer   questions  and  fill  in  the  gaps  in  their  knowledge.  We  exist  to  give  an  honest  picture,   and  in  our  every  interaction  we  try  to  convince  the  student  to  visit  to  form  his  or  her   own  impression.  We  offer  overnights,  day  tours,  weekend  tours,  the  Accepted   Students  weekend,  and  the  Summer  Academy,  all  of  which  are  designed  to  get  the   student  out  of  our  well-­‐manicured  publications  and  onto  the  ground—with  you   all—to  see  the  real  thing.  We  send  Gadfly  articles,  blog  posts,  club  fliers,  excerpts   from  lectures,  and  historical  information.  We  talk  about  don  rags,  tutors,  teaching   across  the  curriculum,  and  the  value  of  an  examined  life.  We  explain  the  nuts  and   bolts  of  the  Program  itself  and  share  our  enthusiasm  for  this  community.  Above  all   else,  we  try  and  get  out  of  the  way  in  order  to  provide  each  prospective  student  a  


genuine  experience  with  the  College  community  through  a  campus  visit  and   discussions  with  current  students,  tutors,  and  alumni.  This  is  a  different  strategy   than  many  admissions  offices,  where  counselors  pursue  students  who  fit  a  certain   profile.  Here  at  St.  John's,  we  pursue  those  who  pursue  us.     Finally,  I  think  it  is  important  to  emphasize  that  it  is  the  faculty  who  ultimately   select  who  is  eligible  to  enroll  at  St.  John's.  It  is  tutors—not  the  Admissions  Office,   not  a  marketing  firm,  not  the  prospective  students  themselves—but  the  tutors  who   have  the  final  say  in  who  we  invite  to  join  our  community.    he  Admissions   Committee  is  made  up  of  the  Admissions  Director,  Dean,  Assistant  Dean,  and  a   rotating  member  of  the  current  teaching  faculty     So,  as  you  consider  the  impact  of  a  company  like  Siegelvision  (or  Enrollment   Intelligence,  or  Art  &  Science,  or  GDA  or  any  other  contracted  company),  remember   that  everyone  who  is  attracted  to  St.  John's,  for  whatever  reasons,  will  work  with  an   admissions  counselor,  which  unavoidably  means  receiving  a  barrage  of  detailed   information  from  us.  Hopefully,  that  student  will  spend  time  with  current  students   and  faculty  on  campus  and  talk  with  alumni.  And  if  the  student  chooses  to  apply,  he   or  she  is  subject  to  the  critical  eye  of  the  faculty  to  be  admitted  to  the  College.  As  you   consider  this,  ask  yourself  how  you  might  be  able  to  aid  the  effort.  Did  you  say  hello   to  the  prospie  observing  your  class?  Smile  at  the  tour  you  saw  passing  you  on  the   quad?  Students  come  to  St.  John's  for  two  reasons:  the  Program  and  the  community.   The  Program  is  unchanging  and  speaks  for  itself.  The  community  changes   annually—are  you  making  it  the  best  it  can  be?     Sincerely,     Alexandria  Hinds,  A'10   Visit/Events  Coordinator   Admissions  Office  


A Letter From Admissions