Trent Hagan: Rush season for admissions

There’s something magical about fraternity rush week.

It’s the perfect combination of information and enjoyment, allowing prospective members to make relaxed, intelligent decisions about their future. But it’s just as rewarding of an experience for current brothers, each of whom is able to share his own thoughts and experiences regarding the organization.

As far as I’m concerned, the Office of Admissions should take a hint.

Over the course of the next week, the majority of top-tier national universities – including GW – will begin to mail out regular decision acceptance letters. From the perspective of University administrators, it’s a decisive moment for the growth of our institution. In terms of reputation, we can’t hope to move in a positive direction without admitting a quality freshman class.

While administrators oversee a number of programs with this very goal in mind, they fail to capitalize on their single greatest resource – the student body.

The University must allow ordinary students to adopt a greater role in the recruitment process. Only then will admitted applicants truly understand what it means to be a Colonial, and be excited for their own future in Foggy Bottom.

Visit days, scheduled between April 9 and 23, are the primary tactic by which the University promotes the GW experience.

The open-house events involve only limited interaction from current students. Much like campus tours and the overnight visit program offered by the Office of Admissions, those students who do participate are either employed or selected by the University, and receive training regarding how to be ambassadors for the school.

The remainder of the student body is left out in the cold. And that just doesn’t make sense.

The ordinary student holds as large of a stake as any in the shape of GW. Our academic prowess has helped transform the University into the nationally renowned institution that it is today.

More importantly, we’re the true experts on what it means to live the GW experience. While administrators may be able to talk global outreach and strategic plans, it is the student body that drives the social pulse of Foggy Bottom.

Whereas the current open-house model employed during the April Visit Days restricts students to talking with University employees and pre-approved groups of students, applicants should have access to a larger slice of GW.

Just as fraternities strive to make rushees feel as involved and welcome as possible, administrators should consider allowing admitted high school students to live a single day in the life of a Colonial. Over the course of several weeks, the University could make available certain courses that would be open for applicants to attend. Upon signing up and receiving a one-day visitor’s pass, admitted students would not only have access to a genuine academic experience, but they would also be able to spend quality time with undergraduates in their natural habitat.

GW students and applicants alike would be encouraged to prolong their shared interactions outside of the classroom. During these particular visit days, student organizations and other interest groups would have the opportunity to mingle with admitted seniors. Upon meeting in Kogan Plaza or J Street, these groups would best be able provide students with information and experiences more specific to their own tastes, rather than funneling everyone through the same, standardized program.

It would be an extended rush week of sorts – not for Greek organizations, but for the University as a whole.

Trent Hagan, a freshman majoring in political science, is a Hatchet contributing opinions editor.

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