Undergraduate Blog / Admission

Checking the Inbox


Because I know you were all dying to know, I didn’t have a good week picking the NFL playoff games last week.  I started out hot in the Wild Card Round, picking all four games correctly, but pretty much struck out last week, picking only the Patriots game correctly (thankfully).  So, I’m not making any predictions this week because I will either pick the Patriots and jinx them, or pick against them and have everyone hate me.  I’m staying away…ahhhhh forget it, Patriots – 49ers Super Bowl (Pats in a nail-biter and 49ers in a comfortable win).  How can you bet against a Patriots running back that dresses like this?  Do you think he’s scared of running through the Baltimore line?  No way; not if he’s willing to go out in public wearing a onesie, moon boots and a bedazzled back pack.

Yes, this is Stevan Ridley in a onsie.

Yes, this is Stevan Ridley in a onesie.

Anyway, one of my goals for 2013 is to keep my e-mail inbox under control.  I refuse to use the term “resolution” because I don’t ever think I will stick with it.  However, I picked up a trick from our Director, Courtney Minden, and her habit of keeping her inbox to 10 e-mails.  She will get an e-mail, respond, then move each message to the appropriate folder should she need it later.  I have to say, it’s been great.  I’m less stressed, I have a quicker response time, and I can brag about it to everyone in the office: “Hey, you know how great I am?  I only have 10 e-mails in my inbox.”  That can’t possibly get annoying.

Since I want to empty my inbox, I figured I could share a topic that I have been seeing a lot this week in varying forms…

“I want to change my second semester class schedule to drop class X and take class Y.  Will that have an effect on my decision?”

In one day, I received three different reasons why someone wanted to do this, all from students who had been admitted to Babson through either Early Action or Early Decision or were currently applying Regular Decision.

  • The first student didn’t think they could handle the addition of another AP course and keep up their grades with extracurricular involvement too.

This is a tough situation because we want you to have a work/life balance, but in this case, the student was admitted to Babson Early Action.  When we admitted them, we did so based on what they had taken through the beginning of senior year and what they were going to take in the Spring semester.  Unfortunately, there are no substitutions at this point.  It is a tough thing to tell a student, but we want the student we admitted to have the academic experience they told us they were going to have at the time of their application.  This was one aspect that set the student apart from other applicants, so to be consistent, we need students in this situation to stick to their original schedule.

  • The second student wanted to drop an elective cooking course they didn’t actually have any interest in taking.

I like to cook and I like people who know how to cook even more, but if your heart isn’t in it, your heart isn’t in it.  The cooking course wasn’t going change the strength of his curriculum and he wasn’t dropping a core subject, so I was fine with it.

  • The third student wanted to jump on an opportunity to essentially start their own company as an internship through their school, but would have to drop another course.

This was a unique case because the student already had a very challenging curriculum, taking more than the minimum requirements in the subject area she was looking to drop.  In addition, I could tell from her e-mail that she was very passionate about the business she was going to have the chance to start through her school.  Obviously there is no black and white answer here either, but since Babson is a business school that wants students to put their entrepreneurial thought into action, it is certainly something to consider when we read her application should she choose the business route.  If this had been a student already admitted during EA or ED it would have been a different question, but they were able to tell us before decisions were made and before the application was even read.

At Babson, the strength of a student’s curriculum is an important factor in not only the admission decision, but in merit scholarships as well.  When we look at an applicant’s academic schedule, we base the strength of curriculum on what they have and will take based on what is available at their particular high school.  Worldwide, high schools offer very different curriculums, from the International Baccalaureate, to the A Levels, to Advanced Placement courses, Honors courses, College prep, and more.  Ultimately, we want to see how a student has challenged themselves with the options their school offers.

What I always talk to students about is making sure they take on an appropriate challenge.  Choose the toughest courses in areas of interest, passion, and what you may want to study in college; and take on an amount of challenge that will still allow you to get something out of all your classes.  A student wouldn’t want one class that is so far beyond their capabilities that it drags their performance in other classes down with it.

As admission professionals, our staff understands the pressure to take tough classes, do well, and get into your dream college.  We also understand that there is no clear-cut answer to exactly what courses you should take.  Always try to look objectively at your strengths, your weaknesses, and be sure to speak with your counselor about the best fit for you.  Remember, we still want students to have a life and be well-rounded both in and out of the classroom.

Please feel free to let me know if any topics you would like to hear more about and always feel free to discuss this in the comments section…enjoy the games this weekend.


UPDATE:  I can’t believe I forgot this, but check out our new facebook page, recently created by our social media guru Tommaso Canetta!