Admissions update, and a look at the interviewers


By Song My Hoang

Union has opened up to a new application season. The college has gained more publicity through the NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey Championship. It was also recently named amongst the 20 most beautiful college campuses on the Princeton Review.

Director of Admissions Ann Fleming Brown said that applications to Union have been “running ahead consistently. We want to have an admittance rate of below 40 percent, as well as attract more women and students from diverse backgrounds.”

Early Decision 1 applications were submitted on Dec. 15 and decisions on those applications have been made by the Admissions Committee.

There were 239 Early Decision 1 applications, and 164 students from that group will be enrolled this year. This is a slight increase from last year’s numbers, which totaled 229 applications for the Early Decision 1 round.

There were 15 states represented in the Early Decision 1 applicat pool. The applicant pool also consisted of international students from Rwanda, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Jordan and the Phillipines.

Assistant Dean of Admissions Jacylyn Mandart shared that the Office of Admissions is looking for well-rounded and multidimensional students who are passionate and able to bring their talent onto the Union campus.

Admissions has been offering on-campus, off-campus and  Skype interviews conducted by the Deans of Admissions and  Senior Admissions Interviewers, who consist of students in the senior class.

Current Senior Admissions Interviewers are Travis Barker ’15, Sriya Bhumi ’15, Adam Becker ’15, Darcy Berger ’15, Kyle Birnbaum ’15, Kim Grinhaus ’15,  Song My Hoang ’15, Maggie Hoffman ’15, James Najarian ’15, Chris Pignatello ’15, Lucas Rivers ’15 and Ben Saperstein ’15.

There will be an email sent in February inviting students who are on a term abroad during the spring for an information session regarding the Senior Admissions Interviewer position.

Kyle Birnbaum is an economics major and a psychology minor. He is president of Alpha Epsilon Pi, Treasurer of the Order of Omega and Co-chair of the Greek Judicial Board. ­­Last summer, Birnbaum was a Financial Management Scholar at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and has secured a full-time job at its Manhattan office following graduation. He hopes to pursue law school within two years.

He was a tour guide before becoming a Senior Admissions Interviewer. Birnbaum shared that he heard about the position through Ankur Shah ’14, who was a previous Senior Admissions Interviewer.

He commented, “I naturally wanted to obtain responsibility within Admissions. I liked the idea of helping to select the next class at Union because I want to maintain Union’s high caliber. I felt that the Senior Admissions Interviewer position was a way I could leave a mark on my college.

Birnbaum continued, “College admissions seemed like such a mysterious process. I wanted to see how it actually worked. I’m excited to go into the decision room this term.”

Birnbaum said that the position has helped him hone his own interviewing skills. “I can put myself in a better interviewing situation and use it at my own advantage. It will help me during my law school application process,” he noted.

He expressed that the Admissions staff treats Senior Admission Interviewers like real employees. “It’s a very rewarding experience. The position will make you a better candidate for any possible future endeavor,” Birnbaum concluded.

James Najarian is an economics and political science major. He is a member of Phi Gamma Delta, the Breazzano House Council and the Ski Club. Najarian is an avid participant in Outing Club trips. He enjoyed going mountain biking at White Face last term.

Najarian has been a tour guide since he was a first-year student. The Senior Admissions Interviewer position appealed to Najarian because he has always been comfortable interacting with different people. He looked forward to having one-on-one conversations with prospective students.

He added, “The idea of helping prospective students to find their right fit was exciting for me.”

Najarian’s goal as a Senior Admissions Interviewer is to recruit students who are engaging and have broad experiences that will prepare them for college.

Travis Barker will graduate with a major in biochemistry and a double-minor in neuroscience and mathematics. He is currently a Resident Advisor, PALS mentor, chemistry tutor, Chemistry Club treasurer and member of the varsity soccer team. He also conducts research in Professor Kristen Fox’s lab. Barker plans to pursue medical school and become a doctor.

“I became a Senior Admissions Interviewer because I wanted to represent the college and help kids who are going through the college process and do not have sufficient information about Union,” commented Barker. He continued, “I enjoyed the idea of helping prospective students feel comfortable on campus.”

Barker explained that he looks for students who are intellectual and are involved in various extracurricular activities outside of the classroom. “When interviewing, I focus more on how the student can interact and carry a conversation with me,” he noted.

Barker shared his favorite parts of the job, “I enjoy interacting with the Admissions staff. I’m excited to interview students because every individual comes in with an interesting story and background. I love being able to represent Union and reveal the endless opportunities here to potential Union students.”

Sriya Bhumi is a double-major in biology and music. She said she feels fortunate to be working as a Senior Admissions Interviewer. Bhumi commented, “It’s a platform for where I could convey my love for Union College and the lessons I have learned. I learned to conduct myself in a way that positively represents all that Union strives to be.”

She explained her interview process. “When I start my interview and gauge an idea of the prospective student, the first thing I do is see if I could see them walking around this campus. Then I try to find something the person could contribute to the school. I particularly love it when I find something they are passionate about and they keep talking about it for the entire time. It’s nice to see what really drives people.”

“Through this job, I’ve gained a more respect for Union College, and the peers I work with contribute so much to my experience,” she concluded.


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