Inzer on ‘Today’

By Kaitlin McCabe '16

The arrival of anxious high school students to the Hill in the spring is a reminder to all Hamilton students that they too were once wrapped up in the stressful college admissions process.  Though most who have experienced the uncertainty that goes hand in hand withclaim to have hated every second of it, Dean of Admission and Financial Aid Monica Inzer considers the experience to be “an important right of passage.”

During her appearance on the “Today Show” on Thursday, April 11, Inzer conveyed this message and, with the assistance of Arizona State University Executive Director of Admission David Burge and University of Michigan Undergraduate Admissions Director Ted Spencer, emphasized that while the admission process may be difficult, the end result will ultimately be worth the effort of finding the right college.

In the question-and-answer segment moderated by “Today Show” co-host Matt Lauer, Inzer, Burge and Spencer discussed their views on topics including financial aid, selecting the right school and handling waitlists.  Inzer shared her advice during similar appearances on the “Today Show” both last April with Spencer and on January 20, when she talked about financial aid with former New York Times editor Jacques Steinberg.  Throughout the short interview, Inzer and her fellow guests sought to provide college applicants with optimism and insight into the decision-making process.  Specifically, the deans emphasized that rejected and waitlisted students should reflect upon the positives of the schools they have been accepted to rather than dwelling upon their disappointment.  They also encouraged students and their families to research schools thoroughly before making a final decision about which schools to attend.

“Everyone wants to sensationalize [the admissions process]. They want to ... trivialize it. I really don’t want to be a part of that ... I want [applicants] to know how much we care ... I want to humanize it,” Inzer said.

This level of consideration is clearly applied in the Hamilton College Office of Admission.  This year, the College admitted fewer applicants, tying its record-low acceptance rate from 1982.  Inzer said, “They are better admits, so that is why we went fewer. We want them, they want us … we spent more time thinking about fit.”  While it is true that Hamilton College also received fewer applications than last year—90 fewer, to be specific—Inzer insists, “our yield is going up.”  Despite the decrease of applicants from the Northeast, the region from which most students come, there was a noticeable increase of applicants from California, Florida and Texas.

The College’s Office of Admission is highly optimistic for the prospective students making up the Class of 2017.  The Open House on Monday, April 15 was host to 752 visitors, 348 of of whom were admitted students.  This was a record-high attendance, despite the record-low number of admitted students.  Dean Inzer reads this as a significant, positive sign for Hamilton’s future: Clearly, new students are learning about and falling in love with the College across the nation.

Even as Hamilton waits for decisions to roll in by the beginning of May, the entire Hamilton community can express pride in its past, present and future.


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