Graduation Season!

The weather in Maryland can be pretty crazy. In fact this is the first week around here that I think we can all agree has truly felt like May. The combination of ninety degree weather, the sunshine, and the slight breeze has all of us in the office eating lunch outside and craving summer activities.

With the rain and chilly weather last week it was hard to believe that it was already late May. Which means that, like most years, graduation snuck up on us! Our latest class of graduates walked across the stage last week and are now preparing for their futures after UMBC. Some are staying in the Baltimore-DC area to begin jobs, internships, or graduate school, while others are taking off across the world to begin their futures.

Check out some of the amazing things our graduates are doing by checking out the Class of 2013 website. We’re certainly proud of all of our grads and wish them the best of luck in their futures. And to those of you who are graduating from high school in the coming weeks, congratulations!! You’re well on your way to an amazing future. And we’re here to help you get there.

 

New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania (Oh My!)

What a week! As usual this month is shaping to be very busy for us in the Admissions Office. I’m currently writing from Long Island where I just met many of you this morning (and will continue to meet you all throughout the next few weeks!).

I’m having a bit of déjà vu as I was just here last week. A bunch of us from the office traveled to New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania to greet those of you from those areas. We heard a lot of great stories and questions and had a lot of fun at the receptions. Some of you are prospective students and some of you are already admitted to UMBC. Here are some pictures of the admitted students from the receptions with our director, Dale. Make sure you stop by our table at the various fairs throughout the next few weeks and say hi!

Dale and the admitted students in New Jersey.

Dale and the admitted students in New Jersey.

Dale and the admitted students in New York.

In Pennsylvania we had the reception at the Mercer Museum, which looks like a castle. It was really cool to walk around the interior and learn about some of the local history. I would definitely recommend it if you are ever near Doylestown, PA!

Mercer Museum/Hogwarts

Mercer Museum/Hogwarts

Happy Spring!

So I know I haven’t written in a few weeks, but I swear it’s for a good reason! We’ve all been traveling a lot to college fairs throughout our different regions and – more recently – inviting you to campus for several events! The spring is always a fantastic time to get to know colleges better and we’re here to answer any questions you might have.

In the spirit of celebrating the admissions life, a bunch of us went to the opening night of the movie Admission starring Tina Fey and Paul Rudd. This was most definitely not a documentary about our career field, but it was enjoyable anyway. Here’s a picture of us acting goofy before the show began:

Kena, Jaime, Julie, and I all thought we were on a roller coaster.

Kena, Jaime, Julie, and I all thought we were on a roller coaster.

We were of course super organized about this whole thing and all of us had our pre-printed tickets ready to go BEFORE we got to the theater. It was a fantastic time and the camaraderie really reminded us of why we love working in this field.

By the way, if you’ve seen the film, know that it’s not the most accurate representation of how colleges review applications. I can only really speak for our process, but we do review applicants as a whole person and most definitely do not drop them through trap doors in the floor. If you haven’t seen the film, it is a typical romantic comedy (which we here love), so we’d recommend it.

Happy spring and enjoy your Spring Break!

Next Steps

It’s getting to be that time of year again. And no, I don’t mean spring. Not yet, at least; I think the groundhog was wrong, given the incoming blizzard. I’m talking about crunch time for high school seniors!

Throughout the next few months many of you will receive letters offering admission to a number of universities. You will have to choose only one, taking into account a number of factors like financial aid, location, and which school has the best admissions counselors. This is the time to do your last-minute research so you can make the most informed decision.

Though we have not yet sent regular decision letters now is the perfect time to start thinking about next steps. If you are admitted and you decide to attend UMBC you will receive information on your next steps in your letter. In short, you will be able to accept your offer of admission online through your myUMBC account, the portal that you’ve been using to check the status of your application.

Your letter would also make reference to this summer’s Orientation and Course Selection Day, where you will meet other incoming students, learn a lot about the University, and ultimately select your classes for the fall. I know you may be getting anxious about getting into an Orientation so you can get your ideal schedule. We are still firming up some details for Orientation to make it the best experience possible. In late March we will list the dates for Orientation and Course Selection Days on our website. At that time you will be able to also register for orientation and placement testing.

For now, we appreciate your patience. I wish you the best of luck in the spring semester. And be sure to enjoy the final weeks of winter and your final semester of high school!

Holiday Sweater Appreciation Post

In yet another show of my appreciation of the holidays, I attended an Ugly Holiday Sweater Celebration this past weekend with some of my colleagues from the Office. I went out the night before and bought the ugliest sweater I could find. Apparently, everyone else did, too, because I saw six people with the same sweater!

Below are some pictures of our get-together. We’ve decided to relive the festivities on Monday in the office. Dale says that he doesn’t have a holiday sweater ugly enough for our purposes so he will be the judge of our sweaters.  Based on these pictures I think I know who might win!

Courtney, Hollin, Liz, and I (Scott) looked super classy in our ugly sweaters.

Courtney, Hollin, Liz, and I (Scott) looked super classy in our ugly sweaters.

Hollin and Liz in our backyard, Baltimore!

Hollin and Liz in our backyard, Baltimore!

Next stop, the Stress Free Zone!

I think I’ve mentioned before my love of the holiday season. However, there’s just not enough time in December. I think we all feel it. Students are gearing up for finals, we in admissions are reading applications, and many people are preparing for the holidays in any number of ways.

Here in the office, we have different ways of handling the stress of the season. Lori got us all cookies (which have surprisingly lasted the week). I have a little stress ball. And of course, we laugh a lot – mostly at ourselves – because that is the best medicine.

But sometimes you just need a little outside help. That’s why we were all super excited today to see that the Professional Staff Senate at UMBC is offering free acupuncture and massages next week to help everyone, faculty/staff and students  alike, overcome stress. This is one of a number of ways that groups on campus advocate a Stress Free Zone, especially during finals time.

For now, I’m going to enjoy these cookies and look forward to a potential massage next week. And I think some holiday movies over the weekend will also help me chill out. Enjoy the holidays, everyone, and find some unique ways to (safely!) blow off some stress-steam!

It’s (Almost) Turkey Lurkey Time!

The atmosphere in the office right now is especially cheery. We’ve all returned from fall travel – well, Hollin has a few visits left, but we’re mostly here! – and we’re settling into a new routine. Plus, Thanksgiving is less than a week away!

I love my job for many reasons, but at least in part because when I come back from two months on the road it’s already the holiday season. The leaves are either on the ground or clinging to their branches in various shades of autumn.  My grandmother called me the other day with a list of things to bring next Thursday (an apple tart and butternut squash). My mother is really excited about our annual tradition of watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, especially for the Broadway acts. It’s a time of tradition, togetherness, and, of course, food.

One of my personal traditions every year is to start listening to holiday music the day after Thanksgiving. When I was a kid I would start in August, which would drive my parents crazy. So as I matured (a little) I began to wait until after Thanksgiving so the music wouldn’t become stale for anyone. Well, I had a moment of weakness earlier this week. Jaime started talking about the holidays and the music and I had to create a new holiday-themed Spotify playlist. Yes, I listened to holiday music about a week early this year. And I’m not ashamed.

As I logged into myUMBC today I began to notice several Thanksgiving-themed posts and it got me interested in thinking about how UMBC celebrates the holidays. There are tons of traditions on campus: Homecoming, the Trash Monster, the ProveIT campaign. But today I noticed some very special Thanksgiving themed traditions that got me so ready for next Thursday (and a four day weekend).

Here are some highlights. Our athletics groups are hosting a 5K Turkey Trot the Monday after Thanksgiving so everyone can get back in shape after Thursday’s food-a-thon. Several places of worship in the area are hosting their own Thanksgiving dinners, free for the community. UMBC Vegetarians is hosting a Gentle Thanksgiving (i.e., all the fun minus the turkey).

And just for good measure, here’s one of my favorite Thanksgiving- (or maybe Christmas-) themed songs: Turkey Lurkey Time

Staying Connected

I don’t know how admissions counselors used to do it. This morning I got semi-lost going to a high school visit because my GPS gave me unclear directions (okay…maybe I should take some of the blame, too). But overall, my GPS has gotten me to nearly every high school and college fair without fail. But then I meet veterans of the road, who tell horror stories of the days when traveling counselors had to use paper maps. They had to plan out their routes and everything!

Needless to say, technology has made traveling for work so much easier in the past several years. It’s also easier to stay connected to campus. I love going through the myUMBC Spotlights every week to see what new activities and clubs our students are creating on campus.

Most recently, I saw a spotlight from UMBC Hillel’s Sukkot celebrations. Every year Hillel celebrates the Jewish fall harvest festival by building a Sukkah – a temporary residence – and by holding various events. There are already tons of pictures on Facebook as well. It’s great to see our students and staff being active on campus, even if I can’t be there to see it! For more information on UMBC’s Sukkot celebration, click here.

This is just one of the fantastic things happening on campus this fall. To see more Spotlights, go to my.umbc.edu (no need to log in to browse!). And once you’re a UMBC student, you can even take part!

Coming Soon to a School Near You

And we’re off! This has been an incredibly busy summer in the Office of Admissions at UMBC and the day we’ve been planning for is finally here. Over the next week we will all be leaving the office for fall travel.

This is one of my favorite times of year. First, there is the promise of pumpkin flavored everything, especially at Starbucks. Second, I love driving with the windows down as the leaves change colors. And finally – and most importantly – we get to meet all of you! We will be attending high school visits and college fairs throughout the next few months from Connecticut to North Carolina. Hollin left today for her first visits in North Carolina and Lisa and I will be leaving this weekend.

Make sure you take a look at the College Fairs section of this blog. Josh will be updating it shortly with all of the dates and times that you can meet us. Also check with your high schools to see if we will be making an individual visit there. And if your high school or region isn’t on the list, not to fret! We always welcome visitors from areas we are not able to reach. Check out our visit website, umbc.edu/visit, for more information on those programs. And don’t hesitate to keep in touch with us via email.

So remember, if you see one of these faces on the road…

 

Josh, Jaime, Lisa, Scott, Hollin, Julie

… say hello!

New Non-Credit Program

One of the things that make us in Admissions so proud about UMBC is the campus’ dedication to innovation. Not to brag, but the opportunities our staff and faculty offer to undergraduate students are incredibly unique. A recent article in the Baltimore Sun highlights this fact.

A new program at UMBC will be the first of its kind in the state. Hoping to offer unparalleled opportunities to students with intellectual disabilities, the program will offer experiences to these students that most degree-seeking students take for granted. These are typical college experiences like taking a class and participating in community service projects and internships. The Shriver Center, which helps students find internships, co-ops, research, and service opportunities, will host this program which aims to help this specific population “expand [its] horizons” in this way.

After such a whirlwind year for our campus – what with several outstanding accolades – this is yet another example of how the University typifies innovation, compassion, and excellence. For more information, find the entire article here.