I wanted to compliment the Swarthmore admissions office on fostering the weaning process.
<p>That is a very strong theme at Swarthmore that becomes even more apparent during the freshman drop-off/orientation events. You will really enjoy Dean Gross' attitude, approach, and hilarious stories at the parents' info session. </p>
<p>It is clear that the Swarthmore administration understands that college is a time for kids to become adults and the only way for that to happen is to let the kids to work it out. That it won't always be easy, but that they will do just fine. </p>
<p>We've seen so many little examples of how caring the school is that has been easy to let go. Heard about one last night, actually. Because they initially reserve too many rooms for incoming freshmen and special needs in order to have some flexibility, some sophmores with bad housing lottery numbers end up on a priority waiting list for rooms. Technically, if there is ANY room left in the room draw, a student MUST pick that room when his lottery number comes up, no matter how unattractive, or be placed on a low priority wait list. The reality is that it would be better to be on the high priority involuntary waiting list and get one of the good rooms released after freshmen are assigned. </p>
<p>Last night, as the tail end of the room draw approached, the Dean of Housing stepped in and stopped the lottery. She called the remaining homeless sophmores over and, instead of going in lottery order, reviewed the available options informally to see who anyone really WANTED those remaining rooms and who really DIDN'T want those rooms. Continuing in lottery order would have screwed over both those who did not want those rooms (by forcing them to take them) and those who did want those rooms (by not giving them the opportunity them to take them). </p>
<p>Instead, she doled out the remaining rooms by request. Those who prefered to take their chances on the involuntary priority waiting list were allowed to volunteer for that; those who prefered the remaining rooms were allowed to pick those, regardless of lottery number. To me, that level of personal interest at 9:30 at night in a gymnasium by a Dean is what makes me so comfortable with the school. I think it's also why the faculty, students, and parents have such a high degree of trust in the institution.</p>
<p>The funny part: as the Dean talked to the kids on the wait list, she told them that her job would be to get them all rooms that they are happy with. Their job would be to keep their parents at bay long enough for her to do her job!</p>