Admissions and LeBron James

It’s April in admissions, it’s the season end push that leads to the playoffs in hopes for a championship. It’s the time when Mondays run into Thursday, the time when work starts at 6am and you leave after 9pm. The time when excuses don’t matter, you just have to bring it! Campus visitors, overnight guests, spring travel, admit receptions; you need to perform at a high level every day.

It’s times like these that I look to sports to draw a parallel. The admissions counselor and the superstar athlete, one and the same. Playing through injury/fatigue, enduring a long season, entering the postseason, striving for greatness and title.

I’m not sure why, but I’ve always been a fan of LeBron James and the way he dominates the game. Night in and night out, he gives 100% for 48 minutes, but beyond what is seen on the court, he also puts in work during the off-season, in practice, and throughout the season.

This got me thinking… what does the admissions season look like?

Offseason- The staff is grouping from a grueling previous year. Some players have left the team, while we pick up key free agents. With a regrouped team, it’s time to assess what we did well, what we need to change, and how we are going to approach the upcoming year. We look at game tape (assess data) and make adjustments for the upcoming year.

Like Basketball, admissions is a grueling season, and can be divided into half the season in the fall, a short all-star break, playing the reminder of the games in the spring, and postseason play.

First half of the Season- Fall travel season. Training camp and exhibition games are over. Our regular season is here and we start off hitting the road sluggish, just getting back into the rhythm of travel, high school visits, and late night college fairs then continue to do the same for weeks on end.

All Star Break – It’s those two days of rest between travel and reading season. We get to briefly enjoy our accomplishments to this point. We take pride on our success during the fall: how many schools we visited, number of colleges fair attended, and growing number of applicants.

Second Half- As soon as the break starts, it’s really over. From fall travel we head into the reading season. Days and days of evaluating transcripts, reading personal statements, and committee review. Glued to our computer screens reviewing files, we are also preparing for yield season as the decision release date looms.

Playoffs- The time spent on the road and the days reading applicant files lead to your admitted students class and yield season. It’s the culmination of the team’s hard work, but still no rest in sight. The 82-game season is over, and now it’s time to put it on. Yield season is filled with 300+ visitors for campus tours, one-on-one counseling appointments, and a variety of day/overnight visit opportunities. This is what we’ve worked so hard for. There is no time to complain about being tired. The championship trophy is in sight; the entering class of 2017.

The Ship- All this time we have prepared for greatness. It’s time to shine. Time to leave it all on the floor, there is no next game. So with a close out game in hand, ascend to the next level and take the championship. Take pride in all you achieved over the year and celebrate your entering class.

So the next time you are getting ready for a big meeting, presenting an info session, or coordinating a yield event, or just need jolt, envision the “chalk clap.” The moment before the big game, the opportunity to channel energy and pump yourself up for what’s coming up. Don’t be afraid of greatness, you’re amazing!

LeBron James


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