An experience of a high schooler on the Admission Team 2017.
"You're in the hotseat, with four pairs of eyes searching your face for an answer. Cold sweat runs down your forehead, you quickly wipe it away. You sigh, take a deep breath, and.."
Sound familiar? Well, it's the all-too-known interview. Except this time, I wasn't the interviewee, I was sitting right across them. And the interviewees at DLRC were confident and enjoyed their interaction with facilitator and students.
This summer, a group of student DLRCians: Rayn Samson, Paritosh Bedekar, Susan Matthew, Anjali Dalmia, and I volunteered to be part of a team that contributed in the evaluation of applicants for grade eleven. This was an effort by DLRC to involve students in decision making by using principles of sociocracy.
An application with relevant and thought-provoking questions were sent to all students who had expressed interest to join the Senior High School program. The questions ranged from personal achievements to character-related questions to asking for the applicant's opinion on global issues. It was interesting to read the forms from a peer's point of view. The applicants were only a year or two older than me, yet I was able to see the vast knowledge that each student had. It was good to see that there were students who were well-informed and answered in depth. Once all forms were in, the Admission Team kicked off the meetings.
When interviewing new students, we wanted to ensure that the student is a fit for DLRC and that DLRC is a fit for the student. To assess each student, we created their interview questions based on their answers from the application. It was a tedious process to think of appropriate questions for each applicant. However, we knew that the correct questions would receive well thought out and clear answers. We spent long afternoons at the Farm campus making the questionnaires. We customized tasks to assess skills that the students mentioned to have an interest in such as poetry, essay writing, debating, drawing, and dancing. These activities were to gauge measure the applicants' interest level, passion, motivation, and determination.
Next, thorough planning of the "Demo Day" schedule took place. Everything had to be put in order - the morning circle, the group task, facilitator & parent meetings, student & applicant interviews, facilitator & applicant interviews, snack time, and closing circle. Phew. It sure was a handful. Thankfully, once all preparations were taken care of, students and facilitators were agog with excitement for the much awaited day.
Finally, Demo Day had arrived. The rising eleventh graders arrived at our lush farm campus, taking in the fresh air, and adjusting to an unusual learning environment. The anxious students and parents immediately relaxed as we began our morning circle. After a minute of meditation, we discussed the agenda for the day.
Everything went on schedule as the day progressed. Soon, we got to the best part: the interviews. The "interview" was more of a friendly interaction between the DLRCians and to-be DLRCians. Students also interact more openly with peers, and we wanted to see their candid side during the interviews. As we conversed, I could see applicants relax, letting the conversation flow into something more than a question-answer session. It was an eye-opener to see different perspectives merge into one seamless conversation.
Last but not least, a "mini community meet" took place at the farm with the prospective students and parents. Students were encouraged to present or perform their given prompts. It was amazing to see all the talent and skills of each student, and how they organised this in a few hours. Once all the presentations were completed, we gathered for our closing circle. Parents and students shared their thoughts about DLRC, the campus, and their learning experiences. DLRC students and facilitators were so happy to hear their responses, that we were all smiling ear-to-ear as we dispersed.
Being the youngest in the Admissions Team, I was able to observe the quick decision making and evaluation skills that the facilitators demonstrated. Each student had a unique personality, yet, the team was able to navigate through the process very effectively. Within the span of a few weeks, our team had sorted through applications, created "customized" interviews, hosted the prospective students at the campus, and take final decision. I couldn't help but admire the efficiency of this entire process.
I really appreciate that DLRC gives an opportunity to students to be a part of such decision-making. This process opened my mind, and give me an insight on how people are evaluated during interviews. I realized that soft skills play a key role in our daily interactions, and will help us in the future. As Albert Einstein correctly said, "The only source of knowledge is experience." And I can say this applies to my learnings from being part of the DLRC Admissions Team 2017!
Grade 10 learner @ DLRC