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College Welcomes Largest January Admit Class Since 2005

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by Josh Daube ‘11

jan-admit.jpgMaybe it was the mild winter, maybe it was changes in the recruiting process, maybe they just got lost, but this January, 18 enterprising young scholars decided to take the plunge and come into the early college experience. As do all colleges in the United States, Simon’s Rock has a number of applicants who decide to transfer in for the spring semester instead of waiting for the fall. To transfer to a new academic institution in the middle of the school year is inevitably a challenging experience, and to have the motivation to do this, regardless of the institution, takes a valuable mixture of independent self-determination, and a measured sort of academic bravery. This unique quality is also found in Simon’s Rock students en masse owing to the school’s status as an early college, and in putting the two challenges together, this remarkably large January class has come into a brave new world with their heads held high.

“Being a JA puts you in an odd position—you either graduate earlier than the rest of the freshmen or you graduate late—and while everybody else is settling back into an established routine, you're just getting your feet wet in the "big pond" of college,” says Mandi Faulkner, a January Admit harkening from Austin, Texas. Over the recent years, January admission has fluctuated greatly, and this year’s enrollment of 18 is the highest since 2005. When asked about how they found Simon’s Rock, the answers were all over the board. Some, like Mandi, heard about it from the mass-mailed postcards sent across the country, while others came from the extended families of Simon’s Rock alumni. One thing is certain though: the Simon’s Rock academic institution is not only growing in numbers, it is growing as a network of families and educators.

The newcomers reported a warm reception throughout the campus. At Simon’s Rock, with freshman aged 15 to 19, the difference between someone coming in January and someone starting in September ends up being negligible. Something that helps to serve as an introduction to the school is the Workshop Week orientation program that both September and January freshmen go through. Like their peers from September, January students went through a Writing and Thinking Workshop, a writing seminar in which students are asked to develop, create, and share written works with their classmates. Although the typical January landscape is a stark contrast to the sunny summertime of August, this winter January applicants got a taste of some of the snowless, pleasant weather that was enjoyed by their classmates.

The reasons given for coming to the Rock in January instead of in September were just as varied as the ways in which they heard about BCSR. Friedolin Stockmeier puts it simply, “If I had gone in September it would have been too early for me, and if I had waited until next year it would have been too late.” Leaving high school in January can be a very logical option for many students. Most of the JAs who spoke, and many students new to Simon’s Rock in general, cite the reason that they left high school as an incongruity between their personal level of motivation and the level of challenge that they faced in high school.

Simon’s Rock welcomes these fresh faces with the fullest expectation that they will be challenged when they want to be challenged, and can pursue the academic careers that they deserve when they want to pursue them. Spring is on the way, and though September admits watched as the color slowly withdrew from the surrounding scenery, we hope our January admits will enjoy the warming of the weather as spring approaches.