Monday, November 23, 2009

Meeting with Dean of Admission and Financial Aid Rick Shaw

On November 2, 2009 I met with Dean of Admission and Financial Aid Rick Shaw. Dean Shaw has a master’s degree in guidance and counseling and came to Stanford four years ago after being at Yale for thirteen years in the analogous position. Prior to Yale he worked at the University of Michigan, Berkeley, and the University of Colorado at Boulder. In the last three years he has reworked everything under his purview at Stanford.

Dean Shaw oversees three functions at Stanford: admissions, financial aid, and visitor services. In each of these areas there is a director: Shawn Abbot for Admissions, Karen Cooper for Financial Aid, and John Friesman for Visitor Services . Dean Shaw has over 70 full time employees in his division. During application reading season many additional people (~18 this year) are hired to help with the reading. The readers are often faculty, former faculty, faculty spouses, graduate students, or former admission officers. In addition, Visitor Services employs numerous students part time as tour guides. The current Visitor Operations Center is located in Memorial Auditorium and a new center is opening up within a month at the location of the old Track House.

The responsibility of Dean Shaw and his division is to meet and greet people both on campus and around the world. Most of the visitors that come to campus are prospective families and kids. Dean Shaw’s division travels the entire continental United States as well as other continents advertising Stanford. Their goal is to attract the best and brightest to Stanford. Dean Shaw’s division often travels with other schools. One large program Stanford is a part of is Exploring College Options which is a joint program between Stanford, Harvard, Georgetown, Duke, and Penn. Recruiting programs are hosted in both fall and spring, with spring being the main season. Students find out about these presentations by direct invitations and college counselors. Students are also contacted if they are on the SAT/PSAT prospect list and Stanford works with over 400 non-profits and state specific programs to identify prospective students. Dean Shaw and his team visit all 50 states over the course of the academic cycle. Sometimes a dean from one of the seven schools at Stanford will be a part of these programs. In addition, there is a large cadre of alumni/alumnae volunteers that attend college fairs. Dean Shaw is also utilizing lots of technology in his recruiting efforts.

After recruiting season, Dean Shaw and his team review over 30,000 applications and then start to deal with financial aid. Admit Weekend is also planned far in advance and this year’s is already being planned. Admit Weekend is one of the big five events Stanford hosts every year including New Student Orientation, Homecoming, Parents Weekend, and Graduation. Approximately 2,400 students will be admitted and 1,300 will attend Admit Weekend with their parents. In May, transfer students are reviewed. There are about 1,400 applications and approximately 24 will be accepted.

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