And we're walking, we're walking...


On an ominously cloudy Friday, Ashley Rodriguez, ’09, takes a group of 19 students, parents, and sullen-looking siblings on what she calls her “jaywalking tour of the University.” They survive the tour without getting hit by cars or sudden downpours, moving easily through a mostly empty campus. The only obstacles are parallel summer College tours, led by undergrads skilled in the art of walking backwards while introducing prospective students and their families to life at Chicago.

After taking in the Reynolds Club, Bartlett Dining Hall, and Cobb Hall and discussing the core, the entourage files into a basement classroom in Rosenwald Hall to question a student panel and Assistant Director of Admissions Jeffrey Hreben, AB’05. Rodriguez, who sits on the panel, tells one parent that she “did not cook once during winter and spring quarter” because her first-year friends had so many extra meal points to share. When Hreben takes over, he details the admissions process. Explaining that applicants don’t need to say they love Ulysses or Shakespeare to get in, he describes an essay that was a “brilliant 400 words or so" about the prospective student’s love of O, the Oprah magazine. High-school seniors, he emphasizes, needn't be flawless. “Parents, you all think your kids are perfect,” he jokes. “If they’re so perfect, why are you spending $200,000 to send them to Chicago?”

Seth Mayer, '08

Photo: Jeffrey Hreben answers student and parent queries.

July 30, 2007