August 2008 Archives

Buffy the Vampire Slayer vs. the SAT

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Many of my friends are pretty rabid Buffy the Vampire Slayer fans and I finally decided to see what all the fuss is about. So thanks to the rather eclectic collection of DVD's available in the Olin Library all 7 seasons of "Buffy" were at my fingertips... and I watched them all over the course of about 2 months this spring. Although Firefly is my favorite Joss Whedon creation thus far, Buffy was such a great metaphor for what we all think at one time or another: high school is hell. And it seems like that statement is especially true when it comes to applying for college. But my how things have changed over the last 10 years!

Case #1 - "Buffy" Season 3
Buffy is a less-than-stellar student + has an epic Slayer battle the night before her SAT = she is convinced she's bombed the test and holds no hope of going to college. Fast forward, and we see Buffy getting her SAT scores... holy Toledo, she's earned some outrageously high score - yes, folks, a 1430 was considered quite good* a decade ago! Suddenly (cue the singing angels) she CAN go to college, leave her Slayer days in the past and have a "first rate educational experience" (meaning she could attend a well-known and prestigious school).

Sidenote: Some folks look down on Buffy's decision to stay local and attend college in little ol' Sunnydale but, alas, we'll save that, topic, for for another day.

*My eyes never saw a 1430 in high school, and yet I still managed to become a productive human being. :P

Case #2 - Coffee and college criticism
Not too long ago I was on the T (Red line, headed inbound toward Park) and I overheard two teenagers lamenting the college admission process and especially standardized testing. I just about choked on my coffee when I heard the young woman say, "I did [insert descriptive expletive here] on my SAT... I only got a 2250." No, no - my ears have heard far worse in the 'foul language' department. It's the fact that she considered such a high score to be a handicap on her college application that continues to astound me. Yes, I realize we live in a competitive culture and that things have become far more test-driven. But still... that's just crazy talk!

Common theme in my two examples? Test scores are everything. Funny, the college admission landscape has changed quite a bit since I entered the profession, but that myth has remained. Look, I'm not going to lie - standardized tests do matter... just not as much as you think they do, particularly at highly colleges and universities! Olin is one of those schools and I can assure you that testing is not everything. It is, in fact, just one piece of the puzzle in which...

your entire academic record in high school


your passion for learning and experiencing new things


your love of juggling or ballet or baking or making the world a better place


that certain je ne sais quoi that makes you, well, you

...mean far more to us than a couple of Saturdays spent sweating over the SAT or ACT. In Sunnydale circa 1999, "good" SAT scores were apparently the sole means to college admission. In Boston circa 2008, "good" SAT scores are no longer good enough and are apparently the death knell for one's chances of admission.

Both of the above statements are absurd in their own way - remember that as you navigate the uncertain, yet by no means unchartered, waters of the college application process.

OK - I'll climb down off my soapbox for today! Best of luck to all of you, dear readers.

Take care and stay sane!

Go forth and apply!!


It's Time to Apply to Olin College!

... to apply to Olin College!!

Women's Open House and more...


Yesterday we had over 50 young women and their families come to campus and participate in Women's Open House. I don't have the photos yet, but when I do I will be sure to post some! We had a great time meeting everyone and answering questions, and we look forward to hearing more about these amazing ladies starting in late August, when our application goes live!

Speaking of the application, we have been working hard to bring you some style changes from the past, which we are very excited about. We can't wait to unveil the product of our summer work!

Only 19 more days until Freshman Move In!!!! I remember when I was going off to college, and I wasn't exactly sure what to bring, so I brought EVERYTHING!! I ended up not needing most of it, and had to send some back with my parents. Consider space carefully, and remember that if you forget something you can either a.) buy it here (there's a Target up the road in Natick) or b.) someone can send it to you. All you REALLY need is a smile and a good attitude for meeting your roomie!

Enjoy the rest of your summer, get some sleep, and we will see you in a few weeks!


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