Sunday, October 31, 2004

College Season 

The increasingly tight race to get into a good college has bumped deadlines up; where in my own day applications generally went out by New Years, most of our oldest students in this high-pressured prep school have at least one packet due tomorrow. Daylight Savings Time sleep bonus aside, Seniors appear at breakfast haggard and unkept, if indeed they appear at all. Most will be huddled at their screens all day. Few will do their homework for tomorrow. Teachers will allow it, for we know that the brass ring of the name-brand university is an overwhelming temptation incomparable to a mere three acts of Shakespearean trope, that one-pager on the ethos of the rainforest, that memorized Donne.

It's hard not to get sucked into the panic. Though as a Coordinator of Information Literacy and Academic Technology I hardly teach classes anymore, a reputation for excellence in editing continues to bring the usual hordes to the virtual door. In the past 24 hours alone, I've had two frantic late-night phone calls and three emailed essay-sets from the worst of the procrastinators. And how can you say no to something so crucial, so scale-tipping, as a last look at the one piece of writing which colleges will use to evaluate you against the other fifty students from this very same school vying for an unspoken quota of ten-or-less spaces in an Ivy League class of '09? If only they all lived in Arkansas, they'd be shoo-ins.

Too, I've procrastinated myself. I find myself blogging when I should be writing what may be my last college recommendation letter of my teaching career, now that I've moved into the "underground administrator" role-play of the curriculum coordinator.

But to be fair, I'm pretty stuck. I tried to stack the deck by taking her out to breakfast for an interview last weekend, an almost-never-fail that generally produces a set of notes which can easily be scavenged as outline for a decent letter which will serve what the student wants me to say, what I can say with honesty, and what a college wants to hear. But this morning these sausage-greased notes seem hollow, and I pride myself on my almost-perfect recommendation letters. Guess it's back to the old progress reports for a morning of cut-and-paste scavenging.

posted by boyhowdy | 11:58 AM |

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