Name: Amy Brokl
Territory: California (shared with Shannon Miller) and Washington
Education: Johns Hopkins University - B.A. in English and History of Art
Johns Hopkins Start Date: June 2003
Why did you choose to enter the profession of College Admissions?: Having had the opportunity to work in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions for the better part of my four years as a student, I was naturally drawn to the profession. I was also looking forward to taking a stab at two pieces of the puzzle that hadn't, at that point, been available to me: file review and travel / recruitment. File review continues to be one of the most fascinating parts of my job - that, and the negotiation of creative routes to avoid the 405 rush-hour traffic!
What is the most enjoyable part of reading college applications? And the least enjoyable part?: Theoretically, the most enjoyable aspect of this process for me is contemplating what these applications mean. Each file represents an individual preparing to launch. Though I understand that this launch is by no means an end in itself - rather, it's one of the first steps most students take as burgeoning young adults - I can't help but become excited by the promise of each series of documents. Practically, the most enjoyable aspect is the reading itself. There are some dynamic personalities, hilarious written statements, and profound confessions in each applicant pool (one might argue in each file). It's an extraordinarily engaging process from start to finish.
The least enjoyable part? I'm consistently frustrated by the fact that a "deny" decision can rarely, if ever, be fully unpacked. Application review forces our committee to make decisions - that is what we do - but the process is rarely as simple as determining "qualification." Regardless of how many times an applicant hears the terms "fit" and "feel," it doesn't lessen the sting nor provide much in the way of feedback. I recognize there's not much one can do about it, or should do about it. It is what it is. But it's tough nonetheless.
What is your personal approach to reading an application?: As each cycle passes by, I'm reminded of the fact that my reading process is really most successful at a table or a desk, accessorized with a variety of beverages (coffee, Diet Coke, iced tea, seltzer...). I don't organize my piles of files in any particular way, as some of my colleagues tend to do. Whatever comes - front to back - student first, then high school; that process works for me.
What is your favorite thing about Johns Hopkins University?: The people. Hands down - I'll say it every time. Yes, I appreciate the Hopkins experience: the opportunity to test one's mettle; to stretch one's independent spirit even further; to do real work with great support and good-feeling. All of these things can and do happen to Hopkins undergraduates. They happened to me. The thing is though, all of this seems slightly less compelling, a little hokier, without the addition of the people and the community of which they are a part.
If working in College Admissions wasn't an option, what would you be doing as an occupation?: I would love to work as a freelance travel writer. Museum work is also a close second (I still haven't gotten my experiences in the History of Art Department out of my head).
In your personal opinion, what is the top issue facing the field of higher education currently?: Cost. And access. Perhaps those are easy outs, but in highly selective colleges and universities, cost is already prohibitive.
What is your top Johns Hopkins University memory to date?: Chicken-fighting in the library, co-opting a booth at the Spring Fair Beer Garden (can I say that?), leading and being led on a Pre-Orientation trip, being taught by a number of iconic faculty members, procrastinating with friends time and time again, exploring Baltimore for New Student Orientation, experiencing Homecoming/Reunion as a student and as an alumna ... they continue, ad infinitum.
What book, what movie, and what album should all students have read, watched, and listened to before enrolling in college?: Let me preface my response: though these are fine answers for any prospective college freshman, they have particular significance for Johns Hopkins undergrads!
- Book - It's a tie between some Edgar Allan Poe and Zagat's guide to Washington D.C. and Baltimore restaurants.
- Movie - "Hairspray," new or old.
- Album - Unfortunately, I don't have an album per se. Just go to a Men's Lacrosse game when they're winning - the cheers of the fans are music to my ears!