Letters to the Editor
A not-so-fabulous omission
In the Fall 2005 Bulletin article "Fabulous Flyer," why didn't the article mention that Jon Karkow, the fabulous flyer, is the son of Edward E. Karkow '51 and the nephew of Richard E. Karkow '48? Wouldn't you agree that they probably had some influence on Jon's decision to attend Kenyon and therefore deserve mention in the Bulletin? I certainly think that.
--Jack L. Hart '48
Congratulations on another great issue of the magazine (Fall 2005), and thanks for doing the work you do. It's more important to members of the wider Kenyon family than you realize.
--Amy L. Bergen '04
A decision with lasting impact
I really enjoyed the recent piece "Decisions, Decisions" (Fall 2005). It brought back many thoughts of my own admissions experience and how I am thankful each day of my life that Kenyon and former admissions dean John Anderson took a chance on me more than twenty years ago. Born with cerebral palsy, I am handicapped, although I hate that term. I was and still am, I believe, a horrible standardized test taker. I was an enigma to most colleges: a good solid B student at a great private school in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, the University Liggett School--but I scored about 1000 on my SAT, and my ACT scores were average as well. My dream was to go to Notre Dame. They looked at my scores and laughed. I also liked Colgate, but they wait-listed me after accepting a classmate with poorer grades but alumni connections. Kenyon was the brainchild of my guidance counselor and friend, Pedro Arango '68, who advised me to apply. He assured me that Kenyon would see behind the SAT scores and judge the whole person, taking my grades and other extracurricular activities into account. [After being admitted,] I met John Anderson on an unscheduled visit to the campus to see a friend and decide whether to accept the offer. He insisted I stay and talk with him. I was astounded by how much he knew about me and how much he seemed to care. That meeting, more than anything else, convinced me that Kenyon was the place for me. I am not unlike the music student mentioned in "Decisions, Decisions," and I owe a debt of enormous gratitude to the College for taking a chance on me. I hope Kenyon never loses sight of a mission that extends beyond board scores, statistics, or rankings.
--Lawrence J. Paolucci '88
The Bulletin's (Fall 2005) presentation on today's admissions world was so very interesting and leaves a knot in one's stomach. I think the early decision mindset is just another manifestation of our selfish "me-first" society. I'm happy to recollect my own admissions experience back in the simple days of 1958, when Kenyon was just 600 male students, always included on the "Ten Best Liberal Colleges" list, and also considered a member of the "Little Ivy League." I knew about Kenyon's English department, although when I entered college I was hell-bent for pre-med, and family friends highly recommended it because of its relationship with the Episcopal church. My first direct contact was not until January of my senior year, when junior admissions staff and one faculty member (the late Edgar Bogardus) made friends with me in Toledo at my large public high school's college fair. I was hooked. So I applied, but also to William and Mary, the University of Pennsylvania, and Williams College. I was accepted by William and Mary, Pennsylvania, and Kenyon. My impressions of Kenyon were so positive that despite no visit and no interview (but plenty of friendly letters back and forth from those persons mentioned above), I accepted. After my acceptance, several Toledo alumni and upperclassmen wined and dined me and made me feel welcome. My first actual presence on campus was when my mother dropped me and all my stuff at the dorm and took off. The terrible empty feeling of homesickness lasted about five minutes. I completed only two years because of family finances. But after military service, I put myself through Northwestern University and have lived happily ever after. Still, the liberal arts experience and all other Kenyon associations endure and mean a lot to me.
--Byron S. Dunham M'62
As a current Kenyon parent as well as an independent college admissions counselor, I must lodge my objection to the gratuitous slap at independent counselors in the recent Kenyon Alumni Bulletin article, "Decisions, Decisions." The article accuses independent counselors of "takeing advantage of students' fears and playing on the myth of the "perfect fit" school."
No independent counselor I know ever would suggest that there is one "perfect fit school" for a student in fact, we often spend much of our time trying to ease anxiety, reduce stress, and educate students and their parents about many lesser-known excellent colleges and universities. In my experience, independent counselors are often a voice of reason in a college admissions culture in which some colleges (fortunately not Kenyon) bombard students with marketing materials to induce applications from those who have little chance of acceptance (in order to drive down the college's acceptance rate), in which some parents believe that failure to gain admission to a "brand name" college dooms their child to a life of mediocrity, and in which some big public high school guidance counselors with huge student loads may be so busy helping students maneuver the shoals of high school that they have very limited time to learn about and recommend any college other than the local state university. And to the extent that the quote is meant to imply that independent counselors represent that they can get students in to the colleges of their choice, please note that the ethical guidelines of the Independent Educational Consultants Association provide that independent counselors should avoid actions which may give the appearance of an attempt to influence an admission placement.
I am confident that within each class of Kenyon first year students is more than one who would not have selected this jewel of college without the guidance of an independent college counselor!
-Marsha Shaines P'08
A continuation on conjugation
I read with some amusement the letter titled "A singular problem," which appeared in the recent Bulletin (Fall 2005). For the record, I agreed with the editor that the proper conjugation of the verb in this instance should have been the plural as opposed to the singular. Two "sentences" in the second-to-last paragraph of the editor's reply, however, puzzled me. After your discussion of whether the word group should be taken as a singular entity or as a collection of individuals, you end with these two sentences: Hence, plural. Hence, "have." Was this a proofreader's error? Should we have had commas where periods showed up? "Hence, plural" is a complete sentence with a subject and a verb? Why didn't you simply end the thing with: We thus chose the plural conjugation of the verb, "have."
--Chris R. Fleming '76
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