The Office of Admission is reforming the way it reaches out to prospective students and reviews applications.

Structural changes in the recruitment and selection process under the leadership of Assistant Vice Provost for Undergraduate Enrollment and Dean of Admission John Latting will aim to make admission objectives more effective.

The restructuring process first involved moving Emory to a regional structure.

Admissions officers are now assigned to a region in the country to visit high schools in the area. The goal is for officers to be a point of contact for prospective students in their respective areas, according to Latting.

“It’s a good way to develop better links with counselors and schools all over the country,” Latting said. “In terms of the expertise of our staff, they’re reading files and know more about the schools and are making better decisions.”

Another significant change in the current applicant selection process involves committee discussions about applications and the way admission officers assess the quality of applicants.

“We’re not evaluating applications, we’re evaluating applicants,” Latting said.

Officers hope that the new process will focus more on the person than the paper. Admissions officers will engage in discussions about applicants, rather than individually reviewing and exchanging files, according to Latting. Instead of focusing solely on SAT scores or transcripts from high school, Latting says that admission officers will be looking for signs that applicants will thrive in the future and contribute to the community.

“We’re also spending more time thinking about the class as a whole rather than just individual people that comprise the College,” Latting said.

Latting’s plan to make reforms in the Office of Admission is not his first contribution since arrriving at  University at the end of last year.

This past spring he discovered that the University had been misreporting admission data to U.S. News and World Report, a national publication used widely for its annual college rankings.

The finding prompted an immediate University review.

Latting said that there is an indirect connection between the data-reporting incident and the shift to holistic review in admissions that he is now advocating for.

While some of these changes in the Office of Admission were already addressed, there is now a departure from the previous philosophy that the numbers are the most important element in an application.

Latting has sought to change the selection process through the restructuring and allocation of existing resources within the Office of Admission.

Refiguring the budget has consisted of eliminating some positions and reducing the office size while also hiring new employees to fill expanded roles.

In the course of reshaping the Office of Admission, Latting’s operating budget has not surpassed that of his predecessors. Latting attributes this to a cessation in outsourcing jobs to companies and consulting firms. Instead, those with necessary skills are now employed full-time by Emory.

Many of them are focused on social media and web development and hope to help the University communicate and market itself better to prospective students who cannot necessarily visit the campus.

As a result of these changes, Latting expects to see larger applicant pools in conjunction with lower admission rates.

However, these are not the sole changes Latting is excited to see take place.

“The most important changes will be of each class coming in of students who are more engaged,” Latting said. “The faculty are more excited about teaching them because of what people can do in the classroom and their investment in them, the level of activity and the energy of the campus is going up and diversity and respect among students is increasing. Those are the sorts of changes I care most about.”

– By Rachel Duboff 

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