Open letter to thank students who hosted prospective Mills women

By
November 20, 2003

To all the Mills Women who volunteered as hostesses on November
10th and 11th: Thank you. On behalf of the Office of Undergraduate
Admission, thank you for volunteering your time, energy, and space
to aid us in the Prospective Student Overnight Program. These
programs are crucial to our success as an office, and to the
college as a whole.

How can letting a high school student sleep on your floor be so
crucial to the college?

In short, you have helped me, as an Admission Officer, do my
job.

When I went to Animo High School in Los Angeles, I spoke in
front of group of Latina high school seniors. All were bright,
eager, hard-working, and the first generation of their families to
attend college. They were all exactly the type of student I want to
see at Mills.

It is one thing for me as a white woman to talk to them about
the diversity of campus, the strong Latina community, and the
number of successful first-generation students I’m friends with. It
is quite another for prospective student to have an open and honest
conversation with a Latina Mills woman about the challenges and
advantages of being a Woman of Color on our campus.

For that young woman to see our diversity with her own eyes, and
to feel at ease in our classrooms is so important to her college
decision. It is my hope to consistently recruit from this high
school, and you have made that process much easier.

When I was in Orange County, I met with a very impressive young
woman who is sure that she wants to be a doctor. It is one thing
for me, as an former English major, to talk about our great science
labs, and the good reputation Mills has of sending women to top
medical schools.

It is quite another for her to come to Mills and spend the night
with a pre-med student, learning first-hand what it takes to
succeed in the program. She came to me as she left and said she’d
learned it was “do-able, hard, but do-able.” Mills is now her first
choice and I’m thrilled.

As I traveled in Nevada, I met a young woman who was not ‘out’
in high school, but interested in going to a school where she would
be welcomed as a Lesbian. It is one thing for me, as a straight
woman, to tell her about our strong and welcoming Lesbian
community.

I can share with her that I too was looking for a college where
women would feel comfortable being open with their sexuality, but
she has no reason to believe I’m doing more than providing lip
service. It makes all the difference in the world for that young
woman to come to campus and see women expressing affection with one
another in public, and to hear the open discussions in
classrooms.

The young woman from Nevada was brave and honest in letting me
know about her sexual orientation, and I know that for every
student who is that honest, there are two or three others wishing
they could ask the questions they really want to, but don’t because
of their peers or the situation. For those students to come and
have their silent questions answered is just as important.

Here at home, I have interviewed a number of women returning to
their education. Each has been articulate, intelligent, and
passionate about re-committing herself to education. As I have met
with these women I have let them know that one of the things I
loved most about Mills was the diversity, including the different
ages in the classroom.

I can say this, but it is really the time in the classroom that
lets these women know that we do not single people out for being
older, or for having children. For her to know that her perspective
and life experience is welcomed and valued is key to her deciding
to join our community.

One prospective student in particular, even though I had
stressed how open and welcoming our Mary Atkins Women were, was
still shocked at how often “total strangers smiled at me and
offered to direct me around campus.” The experience made her
day.

I’ll say it again. For each of you who showed up and volunteered
to be a hostess, who took care of a prospective while someone else
was studying, who lent out blankets and pillows, or who just made
room in the classroom for our guests – thank you.

Each of you, through simply being yourselves, provided the
perfect object lesson in what Mills is all about – women of all
different backgrounds and interests learning and growing together.
You helped our guests to discover if Mills is the right fit for
them, and that is the most important part of the college decision
process.

The experience is something too important to put a price on, and
I know I can not adequately express how grateful our office is.

I can say, with complete confidence, that you have made the
program a success and are responsible for many of the applications
I expect to see in the next few weeks.

Thank you all for getting so directly involved with the
recruitment process.

Scottie J. Hill, Office of Undergraduate Admission


Open letter to thank students who hosted prospective Mills women was published on November 20, 2003 in Letters to the Editor

Print this page Print this page