Joseph “JT” Duck has been named the brand new dean of admissions for the School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Engineering. The director of admissions for Swarthmore College because in 2014, he joins Tufts on September 12.
“I am venerated to steer the admissions office at Tufts,” Duck said. “Over the years, I have been particularly impressed through the innovation and creativity popping out of Tufts admissions which have helped candidates from all backgrounds percentage their tales and built numerous classes of intellectually engaged scholars and citizens interested in the liberal arts, engineering, and great arts.” The first in his family to graduate from college, Duck has labored in higher training admissions and college counseling because he graduated from Haverford College in 1999. He rose to end up partner director of admissions at his alma mater and came to the Boston area to grow to be associate director of admissions at Brandeis University.
Deciding to work the university admissions procedure from the alternative side, he becomes director of college counseling at Boston University Academy, an independent high school-based totally at BU. “I discovered plenty about how students and households make difficult picks” within the admissions procedure, he said. He then served as companion director of admissions at MIT before main admissions at Swarthmore. In addition to his degree from Haverford, Duck earned a grasp’s diploma in better training administration from the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2007. Duck spoke with Tufts Now about the university admissions process, how his stories will inform his paintings at Tufts, and how to make certain prospective students an awesome fit for the university.
Tufts Now: What drew you to a profession in college admissions?
JT Duck: I started as a excursion manual for the duration of my first 12 months of university. I loved figuring out approaches to tell my institution’s story, and I loved getting to know approximately the trips that prospective students have been on to locate their undergraduate houses. I interned inside the Haverford admissions office as a senior, which covered interviewing prospective students and flying at the wall all through the selection committee. I noticed firsthand how invested every admissions officer changed into in building an intellectually engaged and numerous community. When I graduated, I knew that I desired to dedicate as a minimum a few years to the admissions career.
There’s a announcement inside the career: “three or thirty.” You’re either inside the area for 3 years before you head off to graduate college or some other expert space—or you all at once find yourself in a thirty-yr—or extra—admissions profession. I fell into the latter group. My profession has added me to a small group of distinct, noticeably selective establishments, every of which has fashioned my understanding of these paintings and given me opportunities to influence the career in massive and small methods that I never ought to have imagined as a first-year excursion manual.
How has your heritage as a primary-technology university pupil inspired your work in admissions programs? I’m happy with being a primary-generation pupil—neither of my dad and mom earned a university diploma. It changed into not a given that I might go to college, a lot less a rather selective one. My mother and father supported my educational adventure. However, they did not have all of the equipment that other parents might have had at their disposal. I did no longer go on a large university tour. I took the SATs simply as soon as—and, after operating a overdue shift at my element-time job the night before, fell asleep during them. I created my small college listing by judging the covers of the glossiest brochures I obtained in the mail, no longer the facts contained in those brochures.
I convey that college search method with me to at the moment: I realize that the least-resourced college students navigate this system in another way than others. We can’t assume that mother and father or older siblings are knowledgeable about the college admissions manner, that families have the resources to go to campuses, or that they’re familiar with the admissions and economic aid terminology we use.
Does that trade the way you do your work?
In admissions, we have to be deliberately inclusive whilst we communicate with first-era and occasional-income college students. We have to meet them where they’re. We must pay attention to their tales and tell them how our institutions will aid them. We must emphasize that we’re a better network because of their voices and contributions. We should construct recruitment initiatives that introduce first-era and low-income students to our institutions and expand utility evaluation practices that understand their specific contexts. We want to play an active function in constructing institutional aid across our campuses so that each one of our college students will graduate after thriving on our campus for 4 years.
How do you pass about figuring out if an applicant is a good suit for a college, in this example, Tufts—and that the college is a great suit for them? Tufts is lucky to get hold of a really huge and deep pool of compelling applicants every 12 months. Through a cautious holistic, contextual, and committee-pushed assessment of applications, the admissions workplace identifies a subset of candidates to confess that is the maximum probably to make contributions to—and gain from—Tufts. The purpose is to construct a various cohort of students each year to push each different to terrific heights while contributing to the university in different approaches.
Broadly, I understand Tufts students as collaborative, modern, intellectually curious, globally conscious, and specially engaged within the world around them. Some are deeply committed to the high-quality arts, others to engineering, and others to economics—and a few to all 3. Those same college students are probably passionate thespians, competitive athletes, or renowned musicians—and a few might be all 3. Collectively, the admitted students will replicate Tufts’ values simultaneously as they bring with them different pastimes, reviews, and backgrounds.
You also worked on the fence’s alternative side, so to talk, as director of college counseling at Boston University Academy. How does that experience assist you in your position as dean of admissions? My tenure at BU Academy, an independent excessive school on Boston University’s campus, has performed a widespread role in my expertise in university admissions. At BU Academy, I spent five years working at once with college students and households as they researched colleges, constructed university lists, wrote university essays, deciphered monetary resource awards, and in the long run, made their university alternatives.
I discovered approximately how students and families make hard selections approximately which faculties live on the list, how they interpret university advertising emails and brochures, and the way they consider deciding to buy college. I also evolved a greater and more nuanced appreciation for the best work of our college counseling pals on the alternative side of the table. While there are different admissions professionals with university counseling enjoy, there aren’t, in reality, many of us. As dean of admissions, I actually have an exact window into that international.
Because of my time as a university counselor, I have a unique appreciation for the cost of growing a wonderful institutional voice to make a fantastic impression on counselors and college students. I recognize that humane and compassionate admission practices guide counselors and college students. That clear verbal exchange of our paintings goes a long way in supporting counselors to manual their households accurately. Most importantly, my time as a university counselor operating so carefully with college students reminds me of the wholeness of the young person on the opposite aspect of each software and the obligation of the admissions office to offer considerate consideration to each applicant.