The university moved towards becoming paperless with prospective student application files in 2007 and, gradually, some interesting items started appearing on the wall in admissions.
Newspaper clippings, headshots, awards, resumes, CD’s and even vacation photos now line “the wall” in admissions, which is located in the basement of President’s Hall.
“Some of it is silly stuff,” Jaime de Leon II, associate director of admissions, said. “But some of it is actually quite good.”
He explained that the practice of putting interesting items that came with prospective students’ applications began when applications increased.
“Between ’06 and ’08, applications nearly doubled,” de Leon said, adding that before 2007, the university received approximately 5,000-6,000 applications per year, whereas last year they received 13,000 applications and are expecting more this year.
“Probably about one in 10 (prospective students) send in something extra that was not included in the application process,” de Leon said.
“At first things just kept getting put on people’s desks and passed around,” de Leon said.
Then, the wall was born.
Christopher Kaiser, associate dean for undergraduate student services and enrollment management, said that he first saw the wall in the admission’s office two weeks ago.
“I remember a similar wall in the late 90s when I too worked in our admission office,” Kaiser said. “It has certainly grown in an impressive fashion. It really speaks to the quality of our students and their interests.”
The growing popularity of including extra items in the application package is due to “an increased hysteria about getting into college,” according to de Leon. He added that students seem to want admission counselors to get a better sense of who they are.
“Students today are definitely more creative, too,” de Leon said. “I don’t think I could have made a DVD even if I had thought to.”
Senior Christina Bosco works in the admission office as an office assistant and sorts through a lot of the mail, which includes the (sometimes unusual) extra application material.
“Whenever we found something that made us laugh-was worthy, embarrassing or interesting we put it up,” Bosco said.
She added that she didn’t think that it could hurt to send in extra materials, as it allowed admission counselors to really see the applicant’s individuality.
“(The applicants) have a lot of guts to send in what they send in,” Bosco said. “They’re very talented and show off what they do.”
Sophomore Alex Bandyck, who also works in the admission office as an office assistant, said that one of the more unusual items to appear on the wall was an attendance award from Burger King that gave the recipient a coupon for one free hamburger.
“I wouldn’t have sent that in,” Bandyck said. “But meeting Senator Kennedy, that’s pretty cool,” she added, referring to a picture on the wall of an applicant with the former senator.
Other items that stood out to Bandyck and Bosco included a book that an applicant self-published while in high school.
de Leon said that he was impressed by a DVD where an applicant superimposed himself into places and events at Seton Hall to show how well he would fit in with the student body. Additionally, he enjoyed a documentary a student made on race relations in America.
“We sample just about everything that comes through,” de Leon said, adding that they try their best to look through everything even if they don’t have time to sit through a whole documentary or read an entire book a student sent it.
“It’s unexpected, you’re just opening applications, and you come across something like that,” Bosco said. “It definitely makes them more memorable…makes them stand out.”
Caitlin Carroll can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.